Guard held over theft of Nato documents

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The Independent Online

A security guard was remanded in custody at the Old Bailey under the Official Secrets Act yesterday, accused of stealing high-level Nato defence documents.

Raphael Juan Bravo, 29, of Willesden, west London, was charged with taking four confidential documents from British Aerospace Ltd concerning secrets relating to Nato and British defence systems.

Mr Bravo, a British national, was further remanded in custody until 5 November when a plea and directions hearing will take place. His counsel, Rock Tansey QC, told the court that an application for bail was expected to be made this week. Mr Bravo was arrested on 22 August by Special Branch officers who searched an address in west London. The arrest came after an undercover operation by Special Branch and security service officers.

He appeared at Bow Street Magistrates Court in central London on 24 August and the case was transferred to the Old Bailey, where he appeared yesterday before Judge Gerald Gordon. Mr Bravo, who has cropped hair and was wearing glasses and a grey suit, said nothing during the hearing other than to confirm his name.

He faces four counts under Section 1 (1) of the Official Secrets Act 1911 of obtaining documents for a purpose "prejudicial to the safety or interests of the State". The charges claim that on or before 8 August this year, Mr Bravo obtained documents "useful to the enemy, belonging to British Aerospace Ltd, for a purpose prejudicial to the safety or interests of the state".

Mr Bravo is also charged with one count contrary to the Theft Act of stealing four documents from British Aerospace Limited on or before 22 August this year.

The secrets involved in the case are related to front-line defence systems, including those used on Apache helicopters and Harrier jump jets. A spokesman for the company, which is now called BAE Systems, refused to comment on the case "on police advice", except to say that Mr Bravo was not an employee.

The first document involved in the charges referred to design specifications for Prophet Asic, which is a state-of-the-art electronic warfare surveillance system and a designated Nato secret. A second document was marked "Secret UK Eyes Only" and contained radar and other data essential to the defence of British shipping. Another document, also marked for "UK eyes only" contained secrets relating to the Apache Wah-64 attack helicopter. The final document was a "UK Secret" draft report titled "Zeus MDD", containing details of the defence system on the Harrier jump jet.

Mr Bravo is understood to have been working for the Crusader security firm at British Aerospace Ltd in Stanmore, west London, when the documents were discovered to be missing on 22 August.

He was arrested later that day after allegedly arriving with documents on weapons technology marked "Nato Secret" or "UK Secret" at the White House hotel in Albany Street, central London.

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