A court fined French state energy firm EDF €1.5 million on Thursday for hiring computer hackers to access the files of the former head of campaigns for Greenpeace France in 2006. EDF runs France's 58 nuclear power plants.
AFP - A French court on Thursday fined French state energy giant EDF 1.5 million euros ($2 million) for spying on environmental campaigners Greenpeace.
An investigating judge had charged that the energy firm hired private firm Kargus Consultants to hack the computers of the former head of campaigns for Greenpeace France, Yannick Jadot, in 2006.
Greenpeace's anti-nuclear campaigning regularly targets EDF, which runs France's network of 58 electricity-producing nuclear reactors.
It spearheaded a years-long campaign to block the construction of France's new generation nuclear reactor in Flamanville on the north coast.
EDF had insisted during the trial that it had not sanctioned the hacking, saying Kargus had violated a contract under which it was to simply "monitor" Greenpeace's activities, in particular in regards to Flamanville.
Two former EDF executives responsible for security at the group were also found guilty.
Pierre-Paul Francois was sentenced to three years in prison, with 30 months suspended, and Pascal Durieux was sentenced to three years with two years suspended.
EDF and the two men were also ordered to pay 500,000 euros in damages to Greenpeace.
"This was a moral failure by a major company that has touted itself as ethical," Jadot said of the ruling.
EDF lawyer Alexis Gublin said: "We are now waiting to read the exact terms of this decision to say whether or not we will launch an appeal."
Investigators identified a self-taught hacker, Alain Quiros, as the man behind the data theft and police later found a slew of documents related to Greenpeace.
This in turn led to a wide-ranging investigation of Quiros' clients, including a former French government secret agent and a former commando who had set up an economic intelligence consultancy.
Quiros was sentenced to two years in prison, of which 18 months will be suspended, and to pay a fine of 4,000 euros.
The court also sentenced Thierry Lorho, a one-time agent with French spy agency DGSE and the former head of Kargus Consultants, to three years in prison, two of which will be suspended, and a 4,000 euro fine.
His associate Jean-Francois Dominguez, a former paratrooper, was given a similar sentence.
Date created : 2011-11-10