PARIS (Reuters) - French nuclear giant EDF was fined 1.5 million euros by a Paris court on Thursday for hacking into the computers of environmental group Greenpeace in 2006.
Two of the group’s security chiefs were also sentenced to prison for their role in the affair, which involved the theft of confidential documents from the computer of the former head of Greenpeace France, Yannick Jadot.
Greenpeace has consistently campaigned against nuclear power and is opposed to EDF’s construction of a European Pressurized Reactor (EPR), a new generation of reactors, at Flamanville. State-controlled EDF is the world’s biggest nuclear producer and operates 58 nuclear reactors in France.
“This is a triple zero for EDF. Nuclear energy is industrially bankrupt, financially bankrupt and clearly morally bankrupt,” Jadot told Reuters following the announcement of the decision by a court in Nanterre, just outside Paris.
Jadot now works as spokesman for Eva Joly, presidential candidate for the Green Party which is pushing for France to abandon nuclear energy.
Judge Isabelle Prevost-Desprez said she found it hard to believe that former policeman Pierre-Paul Francois and former rear admiral Pascal Durieux, who were both in charge of EDF’s security, had been acting on their own as EDF has claimed.
Finding both men guilty, she sentenced Francois to three years in prison, while Durieux was condemned for one year on top of a 10,000 euro fine.
EDF was found guilty of “complicity in computer piracy” and of possessing confidential documents stolen by a hacker from Jadot’s computer. On top of the fine, it was ordered to pay 500,000 euros in damages to Greenpeace and 50,000 euros to Jadot.
EDF denies all responsibility, and its lawyer, Olivier Metzner said it would appeal against the decision.
Reporting by Thierry Leveque