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Austrian court’s approval for spy agency raid was illegal

BERLIN — Judges in Austria say a lower court’s authorization for police to raid the offices of the country’s domestic intelligence agency was illegal.

The regional court in Vienna said Tuesday that the search of the BVT spy agency on Feb. 28 wasn’t justified because the necessary information could have been obtained if police had simply asked for it. It also ruled that the search of three BVT employees’ homes wasn’t warranted, though a fourth was.

The raid, which was part of a probe into alleged misconduct by BVT staff, sparked a political storm earlier this year.

Opposition parties accused the government of attempting to purge political enemies.

The Vienna court ruling didn’t rule on whether evidence seized in the raid should be destroyed.