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Deutsche Telekom's leaky 'spy affair' exposed

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A German court has jailed a former Deutsche Telekom manager for three-and-a-half years for his role in a spy ring based on bugged phone calls.

The judge in Bonn's Regional Court noted that DT had made it easy for the manager to snoop on calls.

Klaus Trzeschan was convicted of breaking privacy rules and improperly using funds. He admitted spying on Deutsche Telekom board directors and journalists as part of a probe to find out who was leaking information from the firm.

Judge Klaus Reinhoff said: “I wouldn’t call this a spy affair, because we’re talking about serious crimes here. We cannot stress enough that Deutsche Telekom made it really easy for Mr Trzeschan to commit these crimes.”, Bloomberg reports.

Trzeschan hired a firm of external investigators to spy on about 60 people after press reports including confidential information were published in 2005.

"Operation Clipper" and "Operation Rheingold" mainly relied on tracking when calls were made, and who received them, rather than actually bugging the conversations, but the case has still revived memories of the Stasi - East Germany's vast internal spy service.

The boss of the private eye firm was released on health grounds and an employee of T-Mobile and another Deutsche Telekom exec paid fines to settle charges.

Charges against the telco's former chairman and its ex-chief executive were also dropped.

The telco said it was working to improve data protection and regain lost trust. It sacked two people as a result of the scandal. ®

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