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Parliamentary researcher, 29, accused of spying for China: GP’s son, a public schoolboy, is charged alongside a 32-year-old man for breaching the Official Secrets Act after a investigation carried out by anti-terrorist cops

One of two men arrested today and accused of spying for China is the son of a GP who co-founded an influential political group with Security Minister Tom Tugendhat.

Christopher Cash, 29 – Conservative parliamentary researcher and China expert – was charged with breaching the Official Secrets Act alongside Christopher Berry, 32.

Cash, who insists he is “completely innocent”, grew up in an affluent Edinburgh suburb and attended George Watson’s College, which had a £5,000-a-term scholarship – where he was principal of home – before studying history at the University of St Andrews.

A “skilled networker”, he was active in the Westminster social scene and used a dating app. He tried several times in 2022 to arrange a meeting with a political journalist, according to reports.

He has links to several senior Conservative MPs and set up the China Research Group alongside China hawk Mr Tugendhat. He also had connections with Alice Kearns, another Chinese critic.

Christopher Cash, 29 – a Conservative parliamentary researcher and China specialist – was charged with breaching the Official Secrets Act.

The suspect (far right) is pictured with Conservative MP Alicia Kearns (left) and Steven Lynch, former chief executive of the British Chamber of Commerce in China (middle).

The suspect (far right) is pictured with Conservative MP Alicia Kearns (left) and Steven Lynch, former chief executive of the British Chamber of Commerce in China (middle).

Cash, who insists he is

Cash, who insists he is “completely innocent”, grew up in a wealthy Edinburgh suburb and attended George Watson’s College, which had a £5,000-a-term scholarship.

Cash previously released a statement through the law firm Birnberg Peirce, in which he said: “I feel obliged to respond to media accusations that I am a ‘Chinese spy.’

“It is unfair that I am forced to make any form of public comment on the misinformation that has taken place.

“However, given what has been reported, it is essential that it be known that I am completely innocent. To date, I have spent my career trying to educate others about the challenge and threats that the Chinese Communist Party represents.

“Doing what has been claimed against me in outrageous reporting would go against everything I stand for.”

Cash, who has been described by those who know him as “a very competent, very bossy and very bright guy”, spent two years teaching English at an international school in Hangzhou, near Shanghai.

He then did a master’s degree in China before starting to work in Parliament in 2021.

Colleagues said he was shocked when he disappeared from Westminster, where he was at the heart of a social scene and hosted fortnightly pub drinks for a “Whitehall crowd of young people interested in China “.

Cash previously released a statement through a law firm where he spent his career

Cash previously released a statement through a law firm where he spent his career “trying to educate others about the challenge and threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party.”

A neighbor, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “He studied Chinese at university. He took an additional Chinese course in London.

They added that the suspect then moved to China, ruled by the Chinese Communist Party since 1949, to teach English to students.

Three spies accused of spying for China arrested in Germany

Three people accused of spying for China and organizing the transfer of information about technologies that could be used for military purposes were arrested today in Germany.

Prosecutors said the three German citizens allegedly acted on behalf of Chinese intelligence services before June 2022. They are also suspected of violating German export laws by exporting a special laser without authorization.

One of the suspects, identified only as Thomas R. in accordance with German privacy laws, was allegedly an agent of an employee of the Chinese Ministry of State Security and obtained information in Germany about “innovative militarily usable technologies” for that person, federal prosecutors said. in a report.

To do this, according to prosecutors, he used Herwig F. and Ina. F, a couple owning a business in Düsseldorf who used to contact and work with German researchers.

The pair reportedly entered into a research transfer agreement with an unidentified German university, the first step of which was to write for a Chinese partner a study on the technology of machine parts that could be used for powerful ship engines, including those of battleships. Thomas R.’s manager at MSS was behind the Chinese partner and the project was financed by the Chinese state, prosecutors said.

At the time of their arrest, the suspects were in negotiations over other research projects that could be useful in increasing China’s naval combat strength, they added.

The suspects also purchased, with MSS funding, a special laser and exported it to China without authorization, although it was classified as a “dual-use” instrument under European Union rules, they said. prosecutors said. The homes and offices of the arrested suspects in Düsseldorf and Bad Homburg, near Frankfurt, were searched.

The suspects were arrested a week after a three-day visit to China by Chancellor Olaf Scholz, his second since taking office at the end of 2021.

German officials would not comment on whether the government was aware of the case at the time, but said the trip played no role in the timing of the arrests.

The document states that “we are taking decisive action to counter all analog and digital espionage and sabotage activities carried out by Chinese intelligence services and state-controlled groups, whether these activities are in Germany or directed against China.” ‘Germany “.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said the arrests were “a great success for our counterespionage.”

The neighbor said: “He’s a big, lovely guy, he’s a big, nice guy, he’s quite nice.”

The researcher held a key role in Parliament for a year, after being promoted from a more junior position. Deputies are reportedly furious that they were left in the dark about his arrest.

He has worked with MPs – some of whom have access to highly sensitive information – on international politics for several years.

One person who knows him previously told The Times that he was a “skilled networker who has integrated himself widely into the Westminster Chinese scene”.

At the time of Cash’s arrest, Rishi Sunak’s spokesperson said the government would “vigorously defend our democracy” but that the UK must continue to engage with China.

Nick Price, head of the Crown Prosecution Service’s Special Terrorism and Crime Branch, said today: “The Crown Prosecution Service’s counter-terrorism division has today authorized the Metropolitan Police to charge two men with crimes of ‘spying.

“Christopher Berry, 32, and Christopher Cash, 29, will be charged with providing harmful information to a foreign state, China, and will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Friday April 26.

“Criminal proceedings against the accused are active.

“No one should report, comment or share information online that could in any way undermine their right to a fair trial.”

Scotland Yard said the charge against Cash, of Whitechapel, London, was that: “Between January 20, 2022 and February 3, 2023, for purposes prejudicial to the security or interests of the State, obtained, collected, recorded, published or communicated to any other person articles, notes, documents or information,” which was calculated to be, could be, or was intended to be, directly or indirectly, useful to an enemy. Contrary to section 1(1)(c) of the Official Secrets Act 1911.’

The force added: “The foreign state to which the above accusations relate is China. »

They said the charge against Berry, from Witney in Oxfordshire, was: “Between December 28, 2021 and February 3, 2023, with a purpose prejudicial to the security or interests of the state, obtained , collected, recorded, published or communicated. to any other person articles, notes, documents or information which were intended to be, could be or were intended to be, directly or indirectly, useful to an enemy. Contrary to section 1(1)(c) of the Official Secrets Act 1911.’

Commander Dominic Murphy, head of the Met’s counter-terrorism command, said: “This is an extremely complex investigation into very serious allegations. We have worked closely with the Crown Prosecution Service as our investigation has progressed, leading to both men being charged today.

“We are aware that there has been some public and media interest in this case, but we ask others to refrain from any further comment or speculation, so that the criminal justice process can now take its course .”

China called the accusations a “political farce.”

A spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in London said it was “completely fabricated and nothing but malicious slander” to suggest Beijing was suspected of “stealing British intelligence”.

“We strongly oppose it and urge the British side to stop anti-China political manipulation and stop staging such political farce,” the spokesperson said.

The suspect was said to have been “very integrated into the Chinese scene in Westminster”.

The suspect was said to have been “very integrated into the Chinese scene in Westminster”.

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