Two senior executives at French state energy giant Electricite de France (EDF) have been charged on suspicion of spying on Greenpeace, a judicial official said Tuesday.
EDF security chiefs Pierre Francois and Pierre Durieux are charged with conspiring to hack into computer systems including at the environmental group, the official said, confirming a report on the Mediapart website.
A computer expert is also charged in the case along with Thierry Lorho, the head of private detective firm Kargus Consultant, and a third unnamed person, the official said.
Both executives deny knowingly hacking into a computer system, but the computer expert has admitted the charge, the judicial official said.
EDF confirmed on Tuesday that an investigation had been opened for "fraudulent intrusion into computer systems" and that a search had been carried out on its premises.
But the energy giant said it was a victim of the detective firm Kargus, and that it had registered as a civil plaintiff in the case, a spokesman told AFP.
A source close to the investigation told AFP that Kargus had signed a contract to provide unspecified "services" for EDF.
The former campaign director of Greenpeace France, Yannick Jadot, said that investigators were probing the hacking of one of his computers and that EDF "appears clearly to be involved."
"Greenpeace sharply condemns the underhand tactics of EDF and its private agencies, and calls for full light to be shed on this affair," the environmental group said in a statement.
Jadot, who is running in western France as a Green candidate in the June European elections, has registered as a civil plaintiff in the case.
Greenpeace's anti-nuclear campaigning regularly targets EDF, which runs France's network of 58 electricity-producing nuclear reactors.
It spearheaded a years-long campaign to block the construction of France's new generation nuclear reactor in Flamanville on the north coast.All rights reserved. © 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.