A former MI6 spy stole top secret files on intelligence gathering techniques and offered to sell them for 2 million pounds ($2.9 million) to an unspecified foreign government, a prosecutor said Wednesday.
Prosecutor Piers Arnold told a London court that Daniel Houghton, 25, is alleged to have attempted to sell the highly classified documents, but was arrested Monday after British intelligence officials posed as the potential buyer, The Associated Press reports.
Piers Arnold, prosecuting, told City of Westminster Magistrates' Court the alleged attempted sale came after he left the service.
Houghton faces two charges, one for theft and another for violating Britain's official secrets act - the confidentiality law that all intelligence officers are expected to abide by.
The theft charge carries a maximum possible penalty of seven years in jail; the official secrets act offence has a potential punishment of two years in prison.
He was remanded in custody to return March 11 for a hearing at a London magistrates court to be committed to crown court. Houghton was not asked to enter a plea during a brief hearing, The Daily Mail reports.
A spokesman for Scotland Yard said: "Daniel Houghton - 25, of north London - was today charged with one count under the Theft Act 1968 and one count under the Official Secrets Act 1989.
"He will appear in custody at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court later today, Wednesday March 3," Telegraph.co.uk informs.