Copyright 1998 Times Newspapers Limited
September 27, 1998, Sunday
SECTION: Home news
LENGTH: 700 words
HEADLINE: Bundesbank orders mole hunt to find British spy
BYLINE: David Leppard and Chris Hastings
GERMANY'S central bank has launched an inquiry into claims that one of its officials has been working for British intelligence.
The mole hunt follows claims by Richard Tomlinson, a renegade former MI6 officer, that Britain's overseas intelligence agency obtained inside information from a Bundesbank spy.
The spy, codenamed Orcada, is said to have provided MI6 and Treasury chiefs with details of Germany's proposed interest-rate movements and its negotiating position during talks on the Maastricht treaty.
The allegations could lead to criminal charges in Germany. They were being examined this weekend by Robin Cook, the foreign secretary.
In an interview with Der Spiegel, the German news magazine, Tomlinson yesterday said he might consider revealing more details about the Bundesbank spy if Cook denied the story.
He also named three British banks which he claimed had close contacts with MI6. He said they were interested in obtaining intelligence about Germany's economic plans.
The former spy said the Royal Bank of Scotland was particularly close to the secret service. He claimed that it was involved in transferring money to many of MI6's undercover agents abroad.
Tomlinson was jailed for six months last year for breaking the Official Secrets Act. In a dossier published on the Internet earlier this month, he described how MI6 had recruited a Bundesbank official.
Tomlinson claims the Ger man official has been on the MI6 payroll since 1986. He is said to be among the best paid of all its agents. His activities are carefully monitored by another MI6 officer working under diplomatic cover in the British embassy in Bonn.
Tomlinson's claims have been greeted with scepticism by some intelligence experts in Britain. But they are being carefully examined by the Bundesbank in Frankfurt.
Wolfgang Moerke, the bank's chief spokesman, said: "We take these allegations very seriously. We are investigating the issue. But we will wait until the end of our investigation before we comment any further."
Otto Hauser, a German gov ernment spokesman, hinted that Tomlinson's allegations could be referred to the prosecutor if the bank finds evidence of a mole.
A Foreign Office spokesman said Cook would study details of the allegations over the next few days. John Wadham, Tomlinson's lawyer, passed a dossier on the case to the Foreign Office and to the parliamentary committee on intelligence and security chaired by Tom King last week.
Wadham said he could not discuss the claims because of the Official Secrets Act. However, he did say they related to "malpractice and illegality by MI6".
Any suggestion that the security services have infiltrated Germany's premier financial institution will embarrass Cook, who has placed great emphasis on Labour's new "ethical" foreign policy.
In letters to the parliamentary intelligence and security committee, Tomlinson claimed that MI6 had also targeted other allies, including France, Spain, Italy and Switzerland. He added that MI6 had a special unit which tried to steal economic and military secrets from Britain's European partners.
Tomlinson said the operations were "accorded the same level of secrecy and need-to-know indoctrination as highly sensitive Russian casework".
His letters also reveal details of an alleged MI6 proposal to assassinate President Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia.
Speaking from Switzerland, where he is effectively in hiding from the British authorities, Tomlinson said that he wanted Cook to act on his claims about the Milosevic assassination plot and the Bundesbank spy.
Wadham also represents David Shayler, a former MI5 officer, who is in jail in France waiting extradition to London on suspicion of breaching the Official Secrets Act.
Last month Cook ordered a review of Shayler's claims that MI6 was involved in a plot to kill Colonel Gadaffi, the Libyan dictator. The inquiry found no evidence of direct MI6 involvement.
Shayler will appear in front of a French judge on Wednesday to ask for bail. His parents were allowed to see him for the first time in La Sante prison last week. His only visitors until then had been lawyers.
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