Lack of evidence sinks spying probe

German prosecutors have closed an investigation into suspected mass phone tapping of German citizens by British and US spies after finding no concrete indication of any criminal activity, they said yesterday.

The decision to drop the case brings to an end the latest chapter in a long-running spy scandal, triggered by revelations by former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden which have strained ties between Berlin and Washington.

The allegation in 2013 that the NSA bugged Chancellor Angela Merkel’s mobile phone shocked Germans and prompted her to say that spying among friends was totally unacceptable.

In 2015, further allegations suggested that Germany’s BND foreign intelligence agency had helped the NSA spy on European companies and politicians for years.

Prosecutors in Karlsruhe said although the techniques used in US surveillance were known to German intelligence agencies, there was no evidence of them being used to target Germany so they would no longer pursue the case.

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