French official suspected of spying for North Korea arrested

PHOTO: French Senate employee Benoit Quennedey seen here in an undated file photo.PlayEditions Delga via AP
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A French official has been arrested by police for allegedly “collecting and delivering information to a foreign power likely to undermine the fundamental interests of the nation,” a spokesperson for the Paris prosecutor’s office said.

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The spokesperson refused to confirm the identity of the suspect and the foreign country involved in the investigation.

A government source close to the investigation told ABC News that the man in question is senior French civil servant Benoit Quennedey, a senate employee, and that he is suspected of spying for North Korea. Quennedey was arrested on Sunday.

PHOTO: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during a press conference in Pyongyang, North Korea, Sept. 19, 2018. Pyongyang Press Corps Pool via AP, FILE
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during a press conference in Pyongyang, North Korea, Sept. 19, 2018.

Quennedey would write essays and books about North Korea, according to the website of his publisher, Delga. Quennedey has traveled to North Korea multiple times since 2005 and is the the president of The Franco-Korean Friendship Association, which pushes for closer ties with North Korea and supports the reunification of the divided Koreas.

Quennedey has appeared recently on French TV to discuss the ongoing diplomatic dialogue between North and South Korea. He was interviewed by Russia Today France, a Russian international television network funded by the Russian government, in August 2018.

The French Senate and French foreign ministry declined to comment.

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