The head of Germany’s national cybersecurity agency has been dismissed following reports of possible ties to Russian intelligence.
Interior minister Nancy Faeser has dismissed Arne Schoenbohm as head of the BSI agency, German news agency dpa reported.
Mr Schoenbohm co-founded a cybersecurity group a decade ago that brings together experts from public institutions and the private sector.
German media reported that one of its members is a company founded by a former Russian intelligence agent.
The German government said more than a week ago that it was investigating the reports comprehensively.
There is growing concern in Germany that the country’s critical infrastructure might be targeted by Russia because of Berlin’s support for Ukraine.
Mr Schoenbohm, 53, had been the head of the BSI since February 2016.
The ministry said the decision to replace him was also in the interest of the agency’s 1,500 employees and their ability to work without speculation about the personnel issue, dpa reported.
It said that the allegations would be looked into and evaluated thoroughly, and that there is a presumption of innocence for Mr Schoenbohm while that evaluation is ongoing.
German news weekly Der Spiegel quoted Mr Schoenbohm as saying that, since there had been no “feedback” on the allegations, he had asked on Monday for disciplinary proceedings to be opened to clear up the matter.
He said he did not yet know “what the ministry has examined and what the concrete allegations against me look like”.
Source: With Agencies