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16 Aug, 2023 21:56

Former top German spy probed over plot to kill Scholz – Bild

Hans-Georg Maassen is now being investigated by his own agency, the country's best selling newspaper has reported
Former top German spy probed over plot to kill Scholz – Bild

Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, the BfV, is allegedly investigating its former chief, Hans-Georg Maassen, in connection to a right-wing conspiracy aimed at murdering Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Bild reported on Tuesday.

According to the newspaper’s story, the BfV requested data on Maassen from the German Federal Police (BKA) as part of its own investigation. The information in question seems to be linked to a phone call between Maassen and a witness in the so-called ‘Reich Citizens’ conspiracy case.

Bild is known to have strong sources among Berlin's political and security elites.  

In December 2022, a group of alleged coup plotters were arrested by the German police in a series of massive raids in numerous regions across Germany. The suspects stocked up on firearms and allegedly planned to storm the German parliament and kill Scholz. The group was reportedly led by Heinrich XIII, Prince of Reuss, who would have taken over the reins in Germany if the coup had succeeded.

The ‘Reich Citizens’ are a loose far-right movement that believes the German state after World War II is not a sovereign country. More than 50 people were investigated in connection with the suspected plot at that time.

The witness in this case reportedly called Maassen after a search in his apartment block. The nature of the conversation was not revealed by Bild.

The former security chief said he was “outraged” by the investigation, adding that he would “demand information on the data” his former subordinates kept on him. He also turned to Twitter to say that, if an investigation against him had indeed been launched, then “it is obvious that the [BfV] is no longer being used to protect the Constitution but is being misused to protect the government and … politically persecute the government’s critics.”

The coup plotters were arrested some four years after Maassen himself was sacked by then-interior minister Horst Seehofer amid a massive scandal. The former security chief landed in hot water in 2018, when he questioned reports about violence against foreigners in the German city of Chemnitz, which saw a series of right-wing protests and riots after a local man was stabbed to death, allegedly by a group of migrants.

The former BfV head clarified that he only meant to express skepticism over the immediate readiness by media and politicians to accept the videos of violence as authentic. His remarks still triggered a massive wave of outrage.

Maassen then repeatedly attracted criticism over his social media posts, which his critics slammed as anti-Semitic and full of conspiracy theories. His own party, the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), sought to expel him over tweets about “eliminatory racism against the whites,” but the move was rejected by the party commission last month.