Former East German
Spy Chief Says Swiss
Guard Was Agent
WARSAW, Poland (AP) -- Former East German spy chief Markus Wolf says a Swiss Guard commander slain at the Vatican once served an East German spy, a Polish newspaper reported Saturday.
The Vatican dismissed the allegation about Alois Estermann as not worthy of consideration. It responded the same earlier in the week when a Berlin tabloid reported without sources that the slain commander had fed secrets to East Germany's Stasi spy agency.
The Polish tabloid Super Express said Wolf boasted in an interview that Estermann had "unremitting access to the Holy Father, and so did we."
Estermann and his wife were fatally shot Monday in their Vatican apartment by a disgruntled Swiss Guard who then killed himself, according to the Vatican.
Wolf was quoted as saying that the Stasi recruited Estermann in 1979 while he was applying for a job with the Swiss Guard.
"When the acceptance came from the Vatican, his value to us grew incomparably," Wolf said. "We were very proud when in 1979 we managed to get Estermann as our agent."
Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said Saturday that the spy allegation was "foolishness," the Italian news agency ANSA reported.
The Super Express report did not say what information Estermann may have obtained for the Stasi or what the East German government did with it.
The newspaper said Wolf refused to discuss whether Estermann had received compensation.
Wolf did not immediately respond to calls placed to his Berlin residence by The Associated Press on Saturday.
Copyright 1998 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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