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German cybersecurity chief accused of colluding with Russia

Germany may soon dismisses Arne Schönbohm, president of the federal cybersecurity agency, for alleged connections with Russia

In Germany, Arne Schönbohm, president of the federal agency BSI, who is responsible for preventing and countering cyberattacks, is being accused of having contacts with Russia. In 2012, he co-founded the Cyber-Sicherheitsrat Deutschland (German Cybersecurity Council or CSRD), an advisory body on cybersecurity issues, to which he remains close.

However, Policy Network Analytics recently revealed that the CSRD’s membership includes Protelion, a subsidiary of the Russian company O.A.O. Infotechs, founded by a former KGB employee.

As soon as the article was published, the association’s president, Hans-Wilhelm Dünn, announced that he had excluded Protelion from its membership “with immediate effect”, stating that he had not conducted any joint projects with the Russian company.

The German Ministry of the Interior subsequently cancelled the presentation of the BSI annual report by Minister Nancy Faeser and Arne Schönbohm. “It is clear that we cannot hold this meeting until the situation is completely clarified,” explained the ministry spokeswoman.

Sources close to the government have even assured AFP that “there will soon be a replacement in the position of president of the BSI”. “At this stage, I can only tell you that these are accusations that we take seriously. We will first examine them and then implement the necessary measures,” commented Nancy Faeser.

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