A senior French civil servant has been arrested on suspicion of spying for North Korea, a judicial source in Paris has told Agence France-Presse.
Benoit Quennedey, the president of the Franco-Korean Friendship Association who has a written book on the country, was taken into custody on Sunday, the Guardian writes.
The Paris prosecutor was investigating him over the “collection and delivery of information to a foreign power likely to undermine the fundamental interests of the nation,” a judicial source added.
Investigators from France’s DGSI domestic intelligence agency were looking into whether Quennedey provided information to Pyongyang, the source said.
The daily television show Quotidien reported that his senate office had been raided. The inquiry began in March. According to the senate website, Quennedey is a senior administrator in France’s upper house of parliament in the department of architecture, heritage and gardens.
He has written several articles on North Korea and travelled extensively throughout the peninsula, according to the website of his publisher, Delga. The friendship association pushes for closer ties with North Korea and supports the reunification of the Koreas.
North Korea is under strict economic sanctions aimed at forcing the regime of Kim Jong-un to abandon its nuclear missile programme.
Ties with South Korea and the U.S. have improved markedly since Kim and President Donald Trump held a historic summit in Singapore in June, but the U.S. is still pushing to maintain sanctions until Pyongyang’s “final, fully verified denuclearization.”