A Russian scientist working at a Bavarian university has been accused of sharing sensitive information about Europe’s Ariane space rocket program with Moscow.
German prosecutors charged the man, Ilnur N. of espionage, on Thursday. The man worked as a research assistant at the university's natural sciences and technology department.
The accused was arrested in June last year. Ilnur was reportedly contacted by Russian foreign intelligence service SVR in the autumn of 2019 after which he held “regular meetings” with a senior SVR officer stationed in Germany.
The prosecutors said in a statement that he "passed on information on research projects in the field of aerospace technology, in particular the various development stages of the European launcher Ariane.”
Ilnur allegedly received $2,800 in cash in exchange for the information he shared, which also included details about his scientific research at the university.
The European Space Agency (ESA)'s 40-year-old Ariane program consists of a series of transportation rockets designed to ferry heavy loads including satellites into space.