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German spy chief accused of far-right links to be replaced by his deputy

OUTGOING German secret service chief Hans-Georg Maassen will be replaced by his deputy, the Interior Ministry said today.

Thomas Haldenwang has been number two at the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) since 2013. Mr Maassen’s removal was demanded by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition partners, the Social Democrats (SPD), after he sparked outrage by denying video evidence of racist assaults on migrants in Chemnitz in September. 

He was also attacked by the Left party for passing sensitive information from BfV reports on extremism to MPs of the far-right Alternative for Germany party before they were published.

But his boss, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, will remain in place, he confirmed today, despite planning to step down as head of the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party to Ms Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, following heavy losses for his party and the SPD in Bavarian elections last month.

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