Former official arrested for treason

  • 2008-09-22
  • Staff and wire reports

The former information security chief is charged with revealing state secrets (Photo By Laurence Facun)

TALLINN 's One of Estonia'sformer top security chiefs has been arrested on charges of treason in the firstsuch case since the country regained independence.

An arrest warrant was issued for Herman Simm and his wife onSunday at the request of the prosecutor's office. Simm, who formerly headed theDefense Ministry's security department, is charged with selling state secrets. 

"At the request of The State Prosecutor Harju county courtarrested a former high ranking state official Herman Simm who is suspected ofillegal collecting and communicating classified information for a foreignstate," the prosecutor's office said in a press release.

Simm's wife also was arrested on suspicion of assisting her husband, aspokesman for the State Prosecutor's Office said.

The Baltic News Service has cited unconfirmed sourcesreporting that the official "betrayed his country for Russia."The Prosecutor's Office refused to comment on the information.

As head of the Defense Ministry Security Department, Simmwas tasked with coordinating the protection of state secrets. The department isalso responsible for issuing access to classified information and handling datafrom international organizations, including NATO, the European Union and Estonia'sother defense partners.  

He also took part in the devising of EU and NATO informationprotection systems.

Simm started work for the Defense Ministry in 1995 as head of theinformation analysis office of the defense policy department. He was appointedhead of the newly formed state secret protection department five years later.

He previously held various positions at the Interior Ministry and the PoliceBoard, including as director general of the board.

This is the first case since the restoration of Estonia'sindependence of someone being declared suspect in treason.