The French government is investigating a senior military officer over a “security breach”, the defence minister said on Sunday.
According to French media reports, the top officer is suspected of spying for Russia.
“What I can confirm is that a senior officer is facing legal proceedings for a security breach,” Defence Minister Florence Parly told French media, giving no further details.
Florence Parly gave no further details but sources told French media the officer was stationed with Nato and based in Italy.
The lieutenant-colonel was suspected of passing sensitive information to Russian intelligence, Europe 1 reports.
Europe 1 radio reported that a French lieutenant colonel based in Italy and stationed with NATO is suspected of having transmitted sensitive documents to the Russian secret services.
Parly said her ministry had informed prosecutors about the case. She did not elaborate on what the officer was suspected of having done.
“What I can confirm is that a senior officer is facing legal proceedings for a security breach,” Florence Parly told Europe 1 radio, CNews and Les Echos newspaper.
“We have implemented all the necessary safeguards,” Parly said.
A judicial source later confirmed that a senior officer had been indicted 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” as well as “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.
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, according to Europe 1.
The official speaks Russian and was seen in Italy with a man identified as an agent of the GRU, the Russian military intelligence service, Europe 1 reported.
The latest arrest comes at a time of tension among Nato partners, stemming mainly from questions about the continued commitment to the alliance of the US under President Donald Trump.
Last November, French President Emmanuel Macron described Nato as “brain dead” because of the waning US commitment.
The latest tensions have arisen over gas and oil in the eastern Mediterranean. Nato members Greece and Turkey are at loggerheads, with France appearing to side with the Greeks.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)
PLEASE HELP US KEEP GOING AD-FREE
This is a "Pay as You Feel" website.
Hey there! Thanks for stopping by. If you've enjoyed reading the articles on Labour Heartlands so far, We would be incredibly grateful if you could consider making a small donation. Labour Heathlands is not your typical news outlet. We are not here to simply regurgitate the daily news cycle, that's for the rest of them. Our focus is on delving deeper, uncovering the untold stories and shedding light on the issues that the mainstream media chooses to ignore.
Our unwavering commitment to journalistic integrity means that we are not influenced by any external forces. We are not beholden to PR companies, advertisers or press barons, and we refuse to let anyone dictate what we report on. Our editorial independence is sacrosanct, and our only allegiance is to the truth.
While we do not align ourselves with any particular political party, we stand firmly against corruption, injustice and the erosion of truth and the rule of law. We believe that accurate information is the lifeblood of a democracy and that facts are not up for debate.
Once again, thank you for your support – We truly couldn't do this without you!