Eavesdropping on OPEC in Vienna hotel

Apr 14, 1997 02:00 AM

Austria believes foreign secret agents had bugged a top Vienna hotel in what one report alleged was a CIA operation to eavesdrop on Iraqi and Iranian OPEC delegates. "Bugging devices were found in the (Marriott) hotel....and we're now investigating in all directions," Interior Ministry spokesman Rudolf Gollia told. "Signs point towards a foreign organisation, presumably a foreign secret service." Decorators found bugging devices in the walls at the Marriott hotel on Vienna's imperial Ringstrasse during renovation 6 weeks ago, general manager Stefan Kocsi said. The plush hotel has long been favoured by oil ministers and delegates of the OPEC. OPEC is based in Vienna and ministers meet there twice a year. A report said that Germany's secret service tipped off its Austrian counterpart that the US CIA eavesdropped on Iranian and Iraqi delegates during an OPEC meeting last November. The motive was a dispute over raising oil export quotas in southern Iraq, it said. Marriott general manager Kocsi saidbugging devices had been found in three rooms but it was impossible to say how long they had been installed and at whom they were targeted. The Interior Ministry's Gollia said the authorities would not be conducting a search of other Vienna hotels, but added that some managers of hotels used by OPEC may be inclined to do so themselves.

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