France’s Senate says Tuesday it has suspended a senior French civil servant arrested on suspicion of spying for North Korea.
Benoit Quennedey, a senior administrator in France’s upper house of parliament and president of the Franco-Korean Friendship Association, is taken into custody late Sunday.
Investigators suspect him of the “collection and delivery of information to a foreign power likely to undermine the fundamental interests of the nation,” a judicial source told AFP.
He is being held at the headquarters of France’s DGSI domestic intelligence agency on the outskirts of Paris.
In a statement the Senate says he had been provisionally suspended from his job as chief administrator in the department of architecture, heritage and gardens and that his Senate office had been searched by police.
“It’s now time to let justice take its course without interference,” Senate President Gerard Larcher says.
The French news and talk show Le Quotidien, which broke the story, says Quennedey, who has written extensively on North Korea, often in admiring tones, was arrested at his home.
It is not clear what type of information he was suspected of trying to pass to Pyongyang.