A married couple went on trial in Germany on Tuesday accused of handing hundreds of sensitive NATO and European Union documents to Russia during a two-decade spying career that continued well beyond the end of the Cold War.
Federal prosecutors accuse Andreas Anschlag and his wife Heidrun — suspected Russian citizens whose names are aliases — of entering West Germany in 1988 with forged Austrian passports and fabricating a suburban middle-class existence to cover their espionage.
So perfect was the subterfuge that even their own daughter did not know of their spying, German media reported.
Russian President Vladimir Putin worked for the Soviet intelligence agency the KGB in East Germany in the 1980s when the couple are accused of having started their career.
“This is a case of treason that has been going on for more than 20 years, involving the entire range of intelligence activity, from trying to recruit new sources to instructing others, all the way to writing their own reports on political and military matters,” federal prosecutor Rolf Hannich said.
The couple said nothing at Tuesday’s court hearing. In Germany, the accused are not required to submit a plea.