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French energy giant EDF fined for spying on Greenpeace

Today a French court fined the largely state-owned energy giant EDF for €1,5 million for spying on Greenpeace campaigners. The French court found that EDF, which is hoping to build four nuclear reactors in the UK, had hired the security firm Kargus to spy on Greenpeace when they campaigned against new reactors in France in 2006. Besides the 1.5 million fine the court also sent two Kargus employees to jail and ordered EDF to pay €500,000 in damages to Greenpeace.

Greenpeace UK's executive director, John Sauven, said in a statement that the energy giant should now come clean about other suspected spying cases across Europe. “The company should now give a full account of the spying operation it mounted against its critics. As one of the six companies with a monopoly over electricity supply in this country and a major sponsor of the Olympics, EDF has a duty to come clean”, Sauven said.

The Guardian writes:

“EDF and Greenpeace have fought for years over France's power production, more than three-quarters of it nuclear. According to confidential court testimony released by a French website, Mediapart, two years ago, EDF had organised surveillance not only of Greenpeace in France, but broadly across Europe since 2004.

In 2006, EDF hired a detective agency, Kargus Consultants, run by a former member of France's secret services, to find out about Greenpeace France's intentions and its plan to block new nuclear plants in the UK. The agency hacked the computer of Yannick Jadot, Greenpeace's then campaigns director, taking 1,400 documents.”

Justin McKeating writes that this verdict shows that the nuclear industry cannot be trusted. “The history of nuclear power is littered with tales of dirty tricks, propaganda and deceit. EDF’s espionage is merely the latest example in a long line”.

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