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Paper: Convicted China spy had no idea work illegal when first approached

Internal Security Services (ISS) headquarters in Tallinn.
Internal Security Services (ISS) headquarters in Tallinn. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

A noted scientist recruited by Chinese military intelligence agencies had no idea that the original proposal he was approached with was untoward in any way, evening paper Õhtuleht reports on its website.

Tarmo Kõuts, a marine scientist, was sentenced to three years in prison earlier on this month, following an investigation which started last September, when he was detained.

Kõuts, 57, is not to be confused with the former military commander of the same name.

Natalia Lausmaa, counsel for Kõuts, told Õhtuleht (link in Estonian) that Kõuts will not be appealing the decision, made as part of a plea bargain, meaning the Harju County Court decision comes into immediate force.

The case is the first involving espionage for the People's Republic of China; a woman also detained last September on similar charges is awaiting trial.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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