French border police officer to stand trial for selling files to Moroccan secret service

A French border policeman will stand trial for transferring hundreds of highly confidential documents on wanted people to Moroccan secret services in exchange for luxurious holidays abroad, judicial sources told AFP.

French border police officer to stand trial for selling files to Moroccan secret service
The officer was based at Orly airport, south of Paris. Photo: AFP

The 62-year-old was head of the border police's information unit at Orly airport south of Paris. He was in charge of tracking the movement of people on the wanted list, including those suspected of radicalisation.

Now retired, the policeman is suspected of giving between 100 and 200 highly sensitive records to the Moroccan secret services – earning him cash payments and lavish free holidays in Morocco and also Angola.

The investigation brought to light a payment of €17,000 to the bank account of the policeman and his wife, who were in debt at the time.

He will stand trial for corruption at Creteil court to the southeast of Paris, for events that took place between October 2014 and May 2017.

“At the time, my client was convinced he was acting in the superior interest of France,” his lawyer Blandine Russo told AFP. 

“He was asked to collaborate with Morocco. For him, it was a way of monitoring (wanted people) and avoiding new terrorist attacks,” Russo said, adding that her client was psychologically troubled at the time.

A Franco-Moroccan man, accused of being the middleman with the Moroccan secret services, is also standing trial for corruption.

As head of an airport security company, the 57-year-old is believed to have had a central role in the set up.

He is suspected of transferring the confidential documents, many of which were found at his home and in his office.

The Franco-Moroccan is also accused of paying for the holidays abroad of the policeman and his family.

Contacted by AFP, his lawyer did not wish to comment.

The border policeman's wife will also stand trial for receiving goods resulting from corruption – judicial authorities having decided that she must have known the reasons for the holidays.

She is also accused of stealing medicine – given to the middleman – from the hospital where she worked as a nursing assistant.

Investigators have issued an arrest warrant for the Moroccan agent, but so far he is nowhere to be found. He is wanted on charges of corruption.

“It is extremely rare for a case involving states secrets to end up in court, particularly as a result of an anonymous tip off,” the Creteil court said.

The trial should be held in 2021, a judicial source told AFP. 

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French police shoot dead knife-wielding man at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport

French Border police at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris shot - and killed - man who was wielding a knife in the public area of the airport on Wednesday.

French police shoot dead knife-wielding man at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport

Border police reportedly shot a man with aggressive behaviour who brandished a knife in the public area of the Charles de Gaulle airport outside of Paris, on Wednesday morning, police and airport sources told AFP.

“This morning officers neutralised a threatening individual in possession of a knife at the Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport,” the Paris police department said on its Twitter account.

A source close to the investigation told BFMTV that the man – who was likely homeless – went towards the officers, despite being asked several times to put the knife down. In response, police shot the man in the abdomen, and the individual later died.

The incident took place in the busy, public area of terminal 2F around 8:20 am, when “a homeless man started bothering security agents and border police were called in to remove him”.

Initially the man left while yelling curses but he soon returned and brought out a knife, when one of the officers fired his weapon.

An AFP photographer who witnessed the scene said “a large person of colour brandished something that looked like a knife at the police”.

“He was ordered to stop but kept advancing toward them, and an officer fired a single shot.”

The man was quickly put on a stretcher and evacuated, the photographer said. 

Security forces have been on high alert for terrorist attacks since a wave of jihadist killings that have killed more than 250 people since 2015, often by so-called “lone wolves” who often target police.