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Top Communist Spy Returns to West

November 25, 1987

BONN, West Germany (AP) _ A top communist spy has returned to the West nearly four months after West Germany pardoned him and traded him to East Germany for an East German doctor, security sources said Wednesday.

It was not clear whether Manfred Rotsch, a former official with West Germany’s Messerschmitt-Boelkow-Blohm aerospace company, had returned to West Germany or to Austria, where he owns a vacation house.

The security sources spoke on condition that they not be identified further.

Rotsch was sentenced in July 1986 to 8 1/2 years in prison after being convicted of spying for the Soviet KGB.

West Germany in August traded him for Christa Schumann, an East German physician sentenced to 15 years in jail on charges of spying for West Germany.

She had been held in the communist country since 1979.

Rotsch, who was pardoned as part of the deal, was believed to be living in East Germany.

The Hamburg-based tabloid newspaper Bild reported Wednesday that Rotsch would soon move to West Germany.

Asked about the report, Friedhelm Ost, spokesman for the West German government, told reporters: ″I had heard he (Rotsch) wants to come back. He is a free man. He can return if he wants to.″

″He is a German citizen, and thus he has the right to come to (West Germany) even if he would be an unwelcome guest,″ she said.

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