An employee of a German security company contracted by the Bundestag has gone on trial on espionage charges after being accused of passing floor plans of buildings used by the German parliament to the Russian secret services.
The 56-year-old suspect, identified only as "Jens F.", did not make any statements at the opening of the trial in Berlin on September 1.
The suspect is accused of handing a computer disk containing more than 300 files of floor plans to the military attaché of the Russian Embassy in 2017.
Prosecutors have said the embassy employee "mainly works for the Russian military secret service GRU" and that the alleged German spy appears to have acted on his own initiative.
The court noted that a plea bargain had been offered with a jail term of 20 months to two years, but the suspect declined the deal on the advice of his legal team, which argues that there was no proof its client passed the material on to Russia.
The defense alleges that the prosecution's case is based on the suspect's former status as an army officer in communist East Germany.
The German magazine Spiegel has reported that Jens F. was an officer of a tank division and worked for the Stasi secret police between 1984 and 1990.
The case has further damaged relations between Moscow and Berlin that were already strained due to a number of espionage cases and accusations that Russia was behind cyberattacks on the West, including one in 2015 that shut down the computer system of the Bundestag, the lower house of the German parliament.
Moscow has denied any involvement in that attack.