One of Europe's top spies, nicknamed the 'German James Bond', has been sentenced for tax evasion.

Despite a life trying to prevent criminality, this time it was Werner Mauss in the dock, facing charges related to hiding millions of Euros in offshore accounts.

A court in Germany handed Mauss a two-year suspended jail sentence for tax evasion and ordered him to donate €200,000 (£178,000) to charity after he was caught hiding €15m.

The sentence was lighter than prosecutors had hoped for, who had pushed for a six-year jail sentence.

Judge Markus van den Hoevel said that he took into account the life work that Mauss had put in during his time as a spy when choosing a sentence.

Mauss, 77, thwarted a plot to poison a former pope and also receovered valuable treasures from Cologne Catherdral.

He had several offshore bank accounts in Luxembourg, Liechtenstein and the Bahamas, where he hid millions.

Mauss claimed that these were set up by Western and Israeli intelligence as part of his covert operations.

His lawyers have confirmed that they intend to appeal the sentence which was handed out by the court in Bochum.