A NATO scientist from Estonia has been sentenced to three years in prison for working as a Chinese spy since 2018.
Tarmo Kõuts is well-known in the Estonian scientific community for his research. He, along with an alleged accomplice, had been recruited by China's Intelligence Bureau of the Joint Staff Department of the Central Military Commission in 2018, according to an official from KAPO, Estonia's counterintelligence service.
Kõuts received payments from China totaling €17,000, roughly $20,000, as well as paid trips to various Asian countries, according to the official.
Although he had a state secret permit and a NATO security clearance, the information passed on to China at the time of his arrest was limited to observations and anecdotes about his work and had not yet included confidential military information.
"That he had such security clearances was one of the reasons we decided to put a stop to his collaboration [with the Chinese] so early," said the KAPO official.