* Appeals court throws out 1.5 million euro fine for EDF
* Case brought to light while probing cyclist Floyd Landis
By Chine Labbé and Alexandria Sage
VERSAILLES, France, Feb 6 A French appeals court
on Wednesday threw out a 1.5 million euro ($2 million) fine
against energy giant EDF, overturning a lower court's
ruling that the company had been complicit in hacking the
computers of Greenpeace in 2006.
EDF had appealed against the November 2011 decision by the
Nanterre criminal court that a company it hired had hacked into
confidential information on the computer of Yannick Jadot, then
campaign director for the environmental group and now a Greens
member of the European Parliament.
"EDF is completely satisfied by this decision," said EDF
lawyer Alexis Gublin. "EDF was always a victim in this affair."
A judicial investigation into questionable surveillance
practices had found that the 84-percent state-owned EDF hired a
consulting agency, Kargus, in 2004 to carry out "strategic
surveillance" of anti-nuclear activists. EDF argued that Kargus
had gone too far without its consent.
Following the decision of the Versailles appeals court,
Greenpeace said it would ask prosecutors to launch a further
"In France, the nuclear industry do what they want, the law
doesn't apply to them," Greenpeace said in a statement.
Jadot said the ruling sent a "terrible signal at a time when
we're trying to make companies a bit more ethical".
Alain Quiros, the man who hacked into Jadot's computer,
received a six-month prison sentence in November.
On Wednesday, the appeals court upheld a short jail sentence
for an EDF executive involved in the affair, but threw out the
sentence of another.
The court also rejected the lower court's ruling that EDF
must pay Greenpeace damages of 500,000 euros ($675,000).
The EDF case arose out of an investigation to determine
whether the U.S. cyclist Floyd Landis had ordered a private
security firm to hack the computers of the French anti-doping
agency, which had accused him of using performance-enhancing
While looking at the computer of the suspected hacker in
that case, authorities stumbled upon evidence of Greenpeace
computers being accessed illegally.
Landis was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France title after a
positive drug test. The November ruling that found against EDF
also found Landis guilty, along with his former trainer Arnie
Baker, of using documents hacked from the National Laboratory of
Doping Screening (LNDD) to try to contest his test results.
Wednesday's ruling did not apply to Landis, who had not
appealed and is being sought by France along with Baker under an
international arrest warrant for failing to obey a summons.
($1 = 0.7392 euros)
(Writing By Alexandria Sage; Editing by Kevin Liffey)