French intelligence services have arrested a senior civil servant suspected of passing confidential information to the regime of Kim Jong-un.
Benoît Quennedey was taken into custody late Sunday, according to sources involved with the investigation.
Investigators suspect him of the “collection and delivery of information to a foreign power likely to undermine the fundamental interest of the nation”.
Quennedey, who has written a book on North Korea and who is president of the Franco-Korean Friendship Association, is being held at the headquarters of the DGSI domestic intelligence agency, the French counterpart to the FBI.
French media reported that Quennedey was arrested at his home and that his office at the Senate had been searched.
According to the Senate, Quennedey has a senior position in charge of administration and finance in the French upper house of parliament’s department of architecture, heritage and gardens.
His publisher says he has travelled extensively through the Korean peninsula since 2005.
Quennedey He attended the elite Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po) and the National School of Administration, which produces top civil servants and political leaders.
He regularly appears on RT France, part of Moscow’s Russia Today network, where he is presented as an expert in international relations to comment on Korean and other subjects.
He has also appeared on RFI’s sister station, France 24 Television.
The Franco-Korean Friendship Association was formed in the 1960s by journalists sympathetic with Socialist and Communist causes, pushes for closer tied with Pyongyang and supported Korean reunification.
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