French court sentences prison terms for ex-spies for 'sharing intelligence' with China

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Jul 12, 2020, 09.07 PM(IST)

France Photograph:( AFP )

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69-year-old Pierre-Marie has been imprisoned for 12 years, whereas, 73-year-old Henry M. has been handed a jail-term for 8 years. 

A French court has sentenced jail terms to two former agents from the foreign intelligence service after convicting them of "sharing intelligence" with China. 

The trial was conducted in Paris in the utmost secrecy. Officers from France's Directorate-General for External Security (DGSE) were convicted of sharing state secrets with a foreign power. 

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69-year-old Pierre-Marie has been imprisoned for 12 years, whereas, 73-year-old Henry M. has been handed a jail-term for 8 years. 

Pierre-Marie's wife has been convicted of concealment and sentenced to four years, with two suspended.

Both men, now retired, were charged and detained in December 2017, although they were allowed out on bail.

In 1997, Henri was appointed as DGSE's man in Beijing and worked as the second secretary at the embassy. He was recalled in 1998 after having an affair with the ambassador's Chinese interpreter.

Henri retired a few years later and went back to China in 2003 and married the interpreter, setting up a home on Hainan island in southern China.

According to media reports, Pierre-Marie H was arrested at Zurich airport carrying cash after meeting a Chinese contact on an Indian Ocean island.

A popular TV drama "Le Bureau des Legendes" (known as "Le Bureau" outside France) has helped in surge f interest in DGSE's work. 

The series contains some characters working for the DGSE who it turns out are sharing secrets with foreign powers.

(Inputs from AFP)