Austrian authorities suspect one of its diplomats leaked documents on Novichok

Austrian authorities suspect that an Austrian diplomat who was dismissed from his post in the middle of this month leaked confidential documents relating to the nerve toxin Novichok and the case of former Russian intelligence agent Sergei Skripal, the country's media reported on Saturday.
In an interview with AFP, the Austrian Foreign Ministry said the ambassador to Indonesia, Johannes Petrlik, had been dismissed from his post in mid-October after launching "judicial proceedings" against him.
No details were officially revealed about the accusations against the diplomat, who served as Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs between 2018 and 2020.
But according to the newspapers "De Press" and "Der Standard", which obtained the order sent to Petrlik to appear in court, in October 2018, the diplomat transferred classified documents to a former Austrian secret agent accused of spying for Russia.
Investigators relied on a video clip showing the agent - who was working in the internal intelligence services - showing the files in question and his regular contacts with the diplomat, whose phone and computer were confiscated in early September.
The Austrian authorities received this file from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, based in The Hague (Netherlands). Peterlake asked to review the file.
"International cooperation in the field of intelligence is at risk," the investigators said, according to what De Press reported.
The documents contain information about the composition of Novichok, which was developed for military use in Soviet times, as well as information about the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in March 2018.
The investigations were originally launched into the Wirecard fraud scandal, which collapsed last year after admitting a hole existed. Financial accounts amounting to 1.9 billion euros.
The media said that the director of operations for the German company Jan Marsalek apparently wanted to impress trading parties in 2018 in London by displaying the files of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, whose Austrian origin was proven with a barcode.
Marsalek is still a fugitive from justice, while Wirecard founder Marcus Brown has been arrested on charges of fraud and money laundering.
Scandals several years ago tarnished Austria's reputation among NATO countries as a neutral country and a member of the European Union but close to Russia.
In June 2020, a retired Austrian soldier was sentenced to three years in prison after being convicted of spying for Moscow.

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