Energy giant EDF found guilty of spying on Greenpeace

10 November, 2011

Energy Giant EDF has today been found guilty of spying on Greenpeace.

At 14.00hours French Judge Isabelle Prévost-Desprez pronounced a verdict of guilty in the trial of French state owned energy giant EDF, which was accused of industrial scale espionage against Greenpeace. She sentenced EDF executive Pierre-Paul François to 3 years imprisonment, with 30 months suspended and Pascal Durieux 3 years imprisonment, two years suspended and a 10,000 Euro fine for commissioning the spying operation.

The judge also handed down a guilty verdict in the case of Thierry Lorho, the head of Kargus, the company employed by EDF to hack into the computers of Greenpeace. He has been sentenced to three years in jail, with two suspended and a 4,000 Euro fine. 

Additionally, EDF has been fined 1.5 million Euros and ordered to pay half a million Euros in damages to Greenpeace.

Speaking from outside the courtroom in Paris, Greenpeace's Executive Director in France, Adelaide Colin, said:

"The fine against EDF and the damages awarded to Greenpeace send a strong message to the nuclear industry that no one is above the law. This case should send a signal to any country considering building reactors with EDF that the company can't be trusted. Instead of working with the nuclear industry, countries should invest in clean, safe sources of renewable electricity."

During evidence presented to the court by the French prosecutor the judge heard that EDF had been hacking into the hard drives of Greenpeace computers and had placed a 'Trojan Horse' in the hard drive of one computer that enabled the company to access private emails and documents being written by Greenpeace.

It also emerged at the trial that EDF had hired the industrial espionage company Kargus to compile a dossier on the work of Greenpeace UK. This was during the period EDF was attempting to get its foot in the door of the UK nuclear energy market through the purchase of British Energy.

Speaking from alongside the new Rainbow Warrior, currently on its maiden voyage and docked in London Greenpeace UK Executive Director John Sauven said:

"The evidence presented at the trial showed that the espionage undertaken by EDF in its efforts to discredit Greenpeace was both extensive and totally illegal. 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. The length of the sentences handed down shows just how seriously the judge views what the French state owned company did."

He continued:

"The verdict comes on the day that thousands of EDF customers in the UK face price hikes averaging over 15% for gas. EDF could demonstrate real regret for its illegal spying operation by using its increased profits to help those in fuel poverty, and by investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency."

ENDS

For press enquiries call Niall on 07711 156 881

Notes to Editors

A full PDF of the dossier compiled by EDF on Greenpeace UK is available from the press office.

John Sauven, Executive Director of Greenpeace UK will be available for interviews from 16.00hrs today, 10 November

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