‘Kremlin will tap German phones’

28 Nov 2006

The potential takeover of German incumbent Deutsche Telekom (DT) by Moscow-based Sistema has inspired some Cold War-style speculation from the BND foreign intelligence service, according to a report. Berlin newspaper Tagesspiegel quoted an anonymous ‘security expert’ saying the Russians may intercept communications between government departments, companies and individuals, and may also seek access to the encryption codes used by DT’s mobile unit, T-Mobile, should Sistema, owned by billionaire Vladimir Yevtushenkov, take over the German telco. The German government, which owns 31.7% of DT, has said that the acquisition by Sistema of any part of DT was not under discussion, and dismissed the BND’s concerns as ‘meaningless’.