Germany expelled a spy last year who was working under diplomatic cover at the Russian consulate in Munich, Der Spiegel magazine reports today.

The report said that the accredited diplomat was an officer of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), who was acting as a handler for a Russian academic whose arrest on espionage charges was announced yesterday (Thursday).

Spiegel reported that the deportation took place shortly after the arrest in the summer of 2021 of Ilnur N. , a researcher at the University of Augsburg, whom prosecutors suspect of having passed on information about the European Ariane space launcher to SVR.

N. , whose full name has not been made public, as is customary in German court cases, has since been detained. The charges against him for conducting espionage were brought in December.

The Russian SVR officer who was deported, according to Spiegel, could not be questioned because he had diplomatic immunity.

The Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on the deportation.

Germany had expelled two Russian diplomats in December as a German court found that the Russian state had ordered the 2019 murder of a Chechen dissident in a Berlin park, an act the judge had described asstate terrorism.

Russia has more than 100 accredited diplomats in Germany.