It was May 13, 2021, Ascension Day, in the Bavarian town of Weilheim, and a local club was having a party. The pandemic had put a bit of damper on the festivities, but 10 guests showed up nonetheless. It was a cozy gathering.
The party had been organized by Reno S., a soldier in the German military, the Bundeswehr, and a functionary in the right-wing radical party Alternative for Germany (AfD). Among the invitees was a businessman named Arthur E., and one of his friends from town, a friendly, heavyset man named Carsten L., who coached youth soccer. Arthur E. would later tell investigators that Carsten L. had a fair amount to drink that night and began gloating about working for the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany’s foreign intelligence agency. Arthur E. and the BND agent apparently took to each other instantly.