According to authorities, a political scientist suspected of being a secret agent for China has been charged in Germany.

He can only be identified as Klaus L. in respect to German media law. 

The prosecutor’s office confirmed on Tuesday, July 6 that the suspect has been conducting his secret service for nearly a decade via his top position at a Munich-based think tank, reported the Independent

The man started running a political think tank in 2001, where he was able to build up influence and authoritative connections that gave him an edge as a valuable candidate for the double-agent job.

The prosecutors said that he was recruited by the Chinese government in 2010 while he was on a lecturing trip to Shanghai. Klaus L. has been traveling between the two nations ever since, up until 2019.  

Taking advantage of his job positions, he would exploit the high-ranking political relations he was able to build up for political information in Germany. 

The prosecutor’s office added that for the details he was able to extract, Klaus L. would be granted money in return, together with trips to China to meet some of its officers. 

Aside from his think tank, the suspect also worked with the Hanns Seidel Foundation, which is a party-associated and taxpayer-money funded political research foundation in Germany. The organization is closely linked to the Christian Social Union, which is a Bavarian sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The foundation said that it “had no knowledge whatsoever” of the man’s secret occupation, reviewing that he had retired a decade ago.  

Likewise, the 75-year-old scientist was also reported to have been a spy for the German foreign intelligence services (BND) for roughly 50 years, providing information from the top professional contacts he had to it. According to RTE, he has stopped working for the agency, but the outlet did not say when he retired from it.

An anonymous source disclosed that Klaus L. discussed the Chinese offer initially with the BND but then remained silent on his later interaction with the Asian government.

It is unclear if the Chinese operation was aware of the academic’s role with the BND when it recruited him.

He was detained in November last year when he and his wife were on their way to Munich airport on their way to Macau for a meeting with Chinese intelligence officers.