West Germany Opens Second Spy Trial
STUTTGART, West Germany (AP) _ A 45-year-old engineer accused of spying testified Tuesday that he gave sensitive documents to communist agents after one of them befriended him and gave him a job.
The trial was the second involving espionage to open in West Germany in two days. At a trial Monday in Duesseldorf, a woman said she gave sensitive data to a Soviet spy because she loved him.
At Tuesday’s trial, Helmut Stefan Kolasch, who worked for an electronics firm that did military work, is charged with providing sensitive computer information on NATO jet fighters to East Germany and the Soviet KGB intelligence service from 1973 through 1984.
″I didn’t want to have anything to do with those people, I somehow got pulled into it and then feared they would pressure me if I did not cooperate,″ Kolasch told the court.
″Now I have to accept the fact that I supported the KGB. That is an enormous burden for me to bear,″ Kolasch told the court.
Kolasch was arrested in March 1988, the same month as former high-ranking government secretary Elke Falk, whose trial opened Monday. Ms. Falk has acknowledged providing state secrets to the KGB from 1975 to 1985.
Prosecutors say Kolasch photographed documents pertaining to jets of North Atlantic Treaty Organization members and sold the papers to communist agents while he worked at the West German electronics firm Siemens.
Among the information handed over by Kolasch were details on a sensitive aircraft electronics system he himself had developed at Siemens, prosecutors say.
According to court documents, Kolasch handed over the material to contacts in Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna and Karlsruhe and collected more than $16,200.
Kolasch said Tuesday he had provided material to an East German agent using the alias Heinz Groth, whose whereabouts are unknown.
The prosecution says Groth put Kolasch in contact with a KGB intelligence agent, whom the court said then worked as a secretary in the Soviet Consulate in Bonn.
Kolasch told the court he was a student in 1968 when he first met Groth.
According to Kolasch, Groth gave him a part-time job with a building- cleaning company he operated at the time. He said a friendship developed.
Kolasch said he began providing photographed computer information to Groth in 1973 ″because I felt obligated to him.″
″At that time, I didn’t have much money,″ Kolasch said.
The trial was adjourned until Thursday. If found guilty, both Kolasch and Ms. Falk could face a maximum sentence of 10 years.