A Sydney businessman charged with selling Australia’s secrets to alleged overseas spies will spend the weekend behind bars.
Alexander Csergo, 55, appeared in Parramatta Bail Court on Saturday after being arrested at a home in Bondi in Sydney’s eastern suburbs a day earlier.
Australian Federal Police alleges the 55-year-old was contacted by an individual, purporting to be from a think tank, via social media while he was overseas and made arrangements for him to meet with their representatives.
Sydney businessman Alexander Csergo has been charged with selling information about Australia’s national security and defence arrangements.
He allegedly met with two people known as ‘Ken’ and ‘Evelyn’ who offered the man money to obtain information about Australian defence, economic and national security arrangements.
Police will allege Csergo received payment after compiling a number of reports.
According to court documents, he is alleged to have provided the information over a two-year period from February 2021 until April 2023 in Shanghai and NSW.
The AFP claim ‘Ken’ and ‘Evelyn’ work for a foreign intelligence service and are undertaking intelligence collection activities.
Alexander Csergo was arrested at Bondi on Friday and will remain in custody until at least Monday. Picture: AFP/Supplied.
Mr Csergo, dressed in a grey Nike zip-up hoodie and glasses, appeared in court via video link from a police cell on Saturday morning.
He did not apply for bail.
But solicitor Conor McCraith, appearing for the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, told the court that Csergo will make a release application in the Downing Centre Local Court on Monday.
On his LinkedIn account, Csergo lists his job title as ‘Heading Innovation & Transformation for a Smarter Sustainable World’.
He also describes himself as a ‘multi award-winning integrated communications, technology infrastructure, business strategy & operational transformation specialist.’
The 55-year-old claims ‘large scale data’, ‘predictive analytics’ and artificial intelligence are his areas of expertise.
Sydney businessman Alexander Csergo appeared in Parramatta Bail Court on Saturday
He also lists his place of business as Shanghai.
The businessman has been charged with one count of reckless foreign interference, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in jail.
Csergo, an The Australian national is the second person charged by the Counter Foreign Interference Taskforce since new laws came into effect in 2018.
The AFP believes more people in Australia had been approached by ‘Ken’ and ‘Evelyn’.
‘We know making those calls can be daunting, but I assure you that we never take for granted the support we receive from the public,’ Ms Barrett said in a statement released on Friday.
The assistant commissioner added that she wanted to underscore the force targets criminality, not countries or ethnicities.
‘Espionage and foreign interference pose a serious threat to Australia’s sovereignty, security and integrity of our national institutions,’ she said.
The AFP urges anyone who has been approached to provide information to the National Security Hotline on 1800 123 400.
The man is the second individual to be charged by the taskforce since the National Security Legislation Amendment (Espionage and Foreign Interference) Bill was passed in 2018
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