Newspaper: Large East-West Spy Swap in the Works
BONN, West Germany (AP) _ An East German lawyer is arranging an international spy swap involving convicted agents from nine countries, including the United States, a West German newspaper said today.
The conservative daily, Die Welt, said East Berlin lawyer Wolfgang Vogel visited Israel last weekend to discuss the deal, which reportedly includes two Soviet spies serving long sentences.
Die Welt said the nine countries involved in negotiations are the Soviet Union, United States, East Germany, Britain, South Africa, Israel, Norway, Iraq and West Germany. It did not say what the United States expected to gain.
Norway denied the report. ″The government is completely unaware of any such spy swap,″ said Arne Strand, a spokesman in Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland’s office.
West German government sources declined to comment on the report.
Die Welt said Vogel also refused to comment on the reported deal when asked for details. Vogel, 63, has arranged other spy swaps in the past, including the 1986 exchange that allowed Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky to emigrate to Israel.
The newspaper, which appeared to be basing its report on unidentified intelligence sources, said the latest exchange was planned for this autumn.
Die Welt said that among the spies whose exchange was being negotiated was Shabtai Kalmanovich, who was convicted in Israel of spying for the Soviet KGB and is serving a nine-year sentence.
It also named a Professor Glinberg, without giving his first name, who Die Welt said was an expert on chemical warfare. Glinberg was sentenced in 1983 to 18 years imprisonment in Israel for spying for the Soviets, the newspaper said.
In the deal, the Soviets also were seeking the release of Dieter and Ruth Gerhardt from South Africa. Dieter Gerhardt, a former admiral, is serving a life sentence, while his Swiss-born wife is serving a 10-year term. They were arrested in 1981, the paper said.
Norway is involved through the case of its former diplomat Arne Treholt, who was convicted of spying for the Soviet Union and Iraq and sentenced to 20 years in jail, the newspaper said. He was arrested in 1984.
But Treholt’s lawyer Arne Haugestad ridiculed the report. ″This is nothing but a cock-and-bull story,″ NTB state news agency quoted Haugestad as saying.
East Germany’s secret service was hoping to win the release of Reinhard and Sonja Schulze, a couple that was arrested in Britain, according to Die Welt.
The East Germans also reportedly wanted the release of an agent captured in West Germany and were in return ready to release a number of Western agents caught in East Germany, Die Welt said.
The newspaper gave no other details.