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SPYING

US ‘snooped on France’s biggest companies’

More revelations emerged on Tuesday of US spying on French targets, with reports claiming the NSA systematically snooped on the country's biggest companies and all business deals valued over $200 million.

US 'snooped on France's biggest companies'

The US wiretapped two of France's economy ministers and spied on the country's largest companies, French media reported citing WikiLeaks documents, just days after it emerged the US had spied on three of the country's leaders.

Pierre Moscovici, former minister of the economy under French President Francois Hollande and now a European commissioner, and Francois Baroin, minister for budget and then for the economy under Nicholas Sarkozy, were both reportedly targeted by the US National Security Agency.

French newspaper Liberation late on Monday said the US agency had spied on some 100 French companies, “including almost all of the CAC 40” index of the country's largest listed firms.

“Never has evidence of such huge economic espionage in France, orchestrated at the highest ranks of the American government, been established so clearly,” said Liberation.

Spying focused mainly on telecommunications, electricity, gas, oil, nuclear and renewable energy, and health projects, as well as all deals valued at above $200 million, according to WikiLeaks.

Online news portal Mediapart in particular pointed to a wiretap of a conversation from 2012 between then finance minister Moscovici and a socialist senator.

The accusations come after revelations from WikiLeaks last week that the NSA has wiretapped three French presidents — current head of state Hollande, Sarkozy et Jacques Chirac — between 2006 and 2012.

The latest claims of NSA snooping on European leaders prompted France to summon the US ambassador and prompted President Barack Obama to put in a conciliatory phone call to Hollande.

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RUSSIA

Senior French officer held on suspicion of spying for Russia

A senior French military officer stationed at a NATO base has been indicted and jailed on suspicion of spying for Russia, local media and sources said on Sunday.

Senior French officer held on suspicion of spying for Russia
A change of command ceremony at the base of NATO’s Alliance Ground Surveillance Force in Sigonella, Italy. It is not known at which Italian Nato base the officer was stationed. Photo: Falk Plankenhorn
The French army officer was stationed abroad, a judicial source said confirming details from Europe 1 radio. According to the report, the soldier was stationed on a NATO base in Italy and is suspected of espionage on behalf of Russia.
   
The French government confirmed it was investigating a senior military officer over a “security breach”.
   
“What I can confirm is that a senior officer is facing legal proceedings for a security breach,” Defence Minister Florence Parly told Europe 1 radio, CNews and Les Echos newspaper. She gave no further details.
   
The judicial source said the officer had been indicted and jailed on charges involving “intelligence with a foreign power that undermines the fundamental interests of the nation”.
   
He is being prosecuted for “delivering information to a foreign power”, “collecting information harming the fundamental interests of the nation with a view to delivering them to a foreign power” and “compromising the secrecy of national defence”, the source said.
 
   
Europe 1 said the officer was a lieutenant-colonel stationed with NATO in Italy and had been placed under investigation on suspicion of spying for Russia.
   
He speaks Russian and was seen in Italy with a man identified as an agent of the GRU, the Russian military intelligence
service, the report said. It said he is suspected of having supplied sensitive documents to Russian intelligence.
   
The man was arrested by DGSI intelligence service as he was about to leave for Italy at the end of his holidays in France, and is being held at a prison in Paris, Europe 1 said.
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