Estonian passed secrets to Russia
TALLINN, Estonia - An Estonian court convicted a former top security official of treason yesterday for passing domestic and NATO secrets to Russia in the Baltic country's biggest espionage scandal since the Cold War.
Herman Simm, the former head of security at the Estonian Defense Ministry, was sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison in a trial that was kept secret until the verdict was announced yesterday. It also ordered him to pay $1.7 million in damages to the Estonian Defense Ministry.
The Harju County Court didn't specify which country the 61-year-old handed the secrets to, but chief prosecutor Norman Aas said Simm "collected and forwarded classified Estonian and NATO information" to Russia's foreign intelligence service from 1995 until his arrest last year.
"Also, he passed on personal information on some Estonian individuals, something that may damage Estonia's interests," Aas said.
Investigators said Simm received about $110,000 in exchange for the classified documents. Most of them concerned Estonia's defense policy, defense systems and foreign relations, but they also included information on NATO communication systems, investigators said, adding they have been working with the alliance on the case.