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German Cybersecurity Boss Sacked Over Kremlin Connection

Head of German national cybersecurity agency was fired over ties to a member of Russian intelligence once honored by Vladimir Putin.

The chief of Germany's national cybersecurity agency, Arne Schönbohm, has lost his job as a result of allegations about his ties to a cybersecurity firm called Protelion (formerly Infotecs), which was founded by a reported member of Russian intelligence.

Interior Minister Nancy Faeser formally dismissed Schönbohm on Tuesday, according to Deutsche Welle (DW).

"The background to this is not least the allegations, which are well known and widely discussed in the media, and which have permanently damaged the necessary public confidence in the neutrality and impartiality of the conduct of his office as president of Germany's most important cybersecurity authority," the spokesperson told DW.

Schönbohm has held the post since February 2016 but faced mounting scrutiny following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the report explained. A public-private advisory group Schönbohm founded 10 years ago called the Cyber Security Council of Germany included Protelion, which was run by someone whose ties to the Kremlin were so close they were reportedly honored by Vladimir Putin. Protelion has since been removed from the Council.

Although the Council declares itself politically neutral, according to DW, Minister Faeser began to question Schönbohm's affiliation with the group after he attended the organization's anniversary party last month.