Defense Minister Florence Parly confirmed the investigation, saying only that the officer “is facing legal proceedings for a security breach.” She provided no further details, but sources told French media that the officer was stationed with NATO and based in Italy, the BBC reported.
French Defence Minister Florence Parly speaks to journalists as she visits the devastated site of the massive explosion at the port of Beirut, Lebanon, August 14, 2020. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani – RC2NDI9OAVAS
Additional sources state that the officer was a lieutenant-colonel.
The officer was suspected of passing sensitive information to Russian intelligence and has been remanded in custody in Paris, according to Europe 1.
“We have taken all the protective measures that were necessary,” Parly said.
A judicial source said the officer had been indicted and jailed on charges involving “intelligence with a foreign power that undermines the fundamental interests of the nation,” the Guardian reported.
The charges also include “delivering information to a foreign power,” “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 defense.”
The officer was arrested 10 days ago as he prepared to return to Italy from holiday in France, Europe 1 reported.