French official ‘suspected of spying for North Korea’

A senior official in the French Senate has been arrested on suspicion of spying for North Korea, judicial sources say.

Benoît Quennedey was arrested on Sunday night over the “collection and delivery of information to a foreign power”, they say.

He is being questioned by the domestic security agency, the DGSI.

His Paris home and the home of his parents near Dijon have been searched, reports say.

Mr Quennedey is a senior civil servant, working for the Senate’s department of architecture, heritage and gardens. He is also president of the Franco-Korean Friendship Association (AAFC in French), which promotes closer ties with North Korea and supports the reunification of the divided Koreas.

In this capacity, he has travelled several times to Pyongyang in recent years; he has also written several articles and books on the country.

As part of those trips, he met officials and academics working in the architecture and construction fields, according to the AAFC website.

The Senate’s presidency has declined to comment on the reports, the AFP news agency said.

The arrest was first reported by the Quotidien programme of the TV channel TMC, which later said Mr Quennedey’s Senate office had also been raided.

The investigation into Mr Quennedey began in March, reports say.

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