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FORMER REPUBLICS MAY BE USING EX-E. GERMAN AGENTS AS SPIES

SHARE FORMER REPUBLICS MAY BE USING EX-E. GERMAN AGENTS AS SPIES

Growing numbers of former East German secret agents are being employed to spy in Germany by the former Soviet republics, a German minister was quote Saturday as saying.

Chancellery Minister Friedrich Bohl told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper that agents from the former Stasi state security service were employed mainly in economic and defense fields.In an interview released before publication Sunday, Bohl said former Stasi officers who had been arrested had given definite proof of the spying.

"The number of top former spies employed by the republics of the Commonwealth of Independent States in Germany is now estimated at around 300," it quoted Bohl as saying.

Bohl also said some former Stasi spies were blackmailed into working for the successor services to the old Soviet KGB because of their close links to Moscow.

He said some 200 agents had been arrested since German unification in October 1990, while others continued to pose a danger to the country.