Prosecutor Demands 15-Year Sentence For ‘Topaz’
DUESSELDORF, Germany (AP) _ The prosecution demanded a 15-year prison sentence Friday for a Soviet bloc spy accused of passing thousands of NATO military documents to his communist handlers.
Rainer Rupp, code-named Topaz, was a mole at NATO’s Brussels headquarters for 13 years and is believed to have been one of the KGB’s most valuable sources of information about the Western alliance’s military plans.
He is accused of treason.
In his closing plea to the court, Federal Prosecutor Eckehard Schulz said the Warsaw Pact was able to judge NATO’s military potential because of Rupp’s spying.
″Topaz’ spying would have had ... disastrous and catastrophic consequences″ in the event of a war, Schulz said.
″The lives and freedom of millions of people″ were put on the line because of ″one of the most serious cases of treason in postwar history,″ Schulz said.
Rupp, 49, was arrested in July 1993. He admitted to spying when called as a witness in the trial of East German spymaster Markus Wolf, convicted of treason in December.
Rupp, recruited by East German agents over a bowl of goulash in the West German city of Mainz, became an economics official at NATO headquarters in 1977, prosecutors said.
He began stealing documents on NATO maneuvers, planning, internal problems, strengths and weaknesses, prosecutors said. He also is accused of passing on sections of NATO’s crisis handbook.
The East German Ministry for State Security, called the Stasi, obtained so many files from him that it had a hard time processing them all, Schulz said.
Schulz said he could demand a life sentence, but thought the disappearance of the communist threat to the West was a mitigating factor.
On trial with Rupp since Sept. 23 is his British-born wife, Ann-Christine, code-named Turquoise. She worked for NATO’s security service after 1977 and is accused of helping her husband betray secrets.
The couple were allegedly paid the equivalent of $1,900 a month to spy and also received a one-time payment worth $132,000 plus a generous expense account.
Also on trial are Klaus Roesler and Karl Rehbaum, two former East German intelligence officials who received the stolen secrets.
Schulz asked that Mrs. Rupp, Roesler and Rehbaum each be sentenced to two years on probation.
The defense intended to make its pleas Thursday, and a verdict is expected before the end of the month.