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British Defense Worker Charged with 9 Counts of Spying - 2002-03-26

A British defense worker has been charged with nine counts of spying.

Forty-five-year-old Ian Parr made a brief appearance in a London court Monday to hear the charges against him. He made no comment, except to confirm his name.

Mr. Parr has been ordered held without bail, until his next court date on April 3rd.

He has been charged with nine counts of spying, in violation of Britain's Official Secrets Act. He also faces one count of stealing documents from his employer, BAE Systems, a major British defense contractor.

The Independent newspaper says Mr. Parr was working for Russia, but British officials have declined to comment on the report.

Mr. Parr was arrested Friday in Essex county, east of London. Police say he allegedly obtained information and documents "prejudicial to the interests" of Britain. They say he was going to provide those materials to an unidentified "enemy" nation.

If convicted, Mr. Parr could face a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison on each count of spying.

British media report that Mr. Parr was an aviation engineer working on what is called "stealth" technology, which helps make combat aircraft invisible to radar.

His employer, BAE Systems, is the largest avionics company in Europe. It makes equipment for Britain's Tornado and Sea Harrier jets, and is a major supplier of civil and military electronic systems.