US cyclist, energy firm guilty in French hacking scandal

Nov 10, 2011 by Ludovic Luppino
A French court has fined French state energy giant EDF 1.5 million euros ($2 million) for spying on environmental campaigners Greenpeace.

A French court handed disgraced US cyclist Floyd Landis a suspended sentence and fined energy giant EDF on Thursday after ruling that both used a shady corporate espionage operation to hack computers.

Both were found guilty of using a French consultancy set up by a former spy and an ex-commando that hired a self-taught hacker to break into the computer systems of an anti-doping laboratory and environmental group Greenpeace.

The court handed Landis and his former trainer Arnie Barker one-year suspended jail sentences after finding them guilty of fraudulently receiving documents from the official LNDD anti-doping agency.

Landis had been trying to clear his name after being stripped of his title as winner of the 2006 Tour de France and turned to the corporate spy group, Kargus Consultants, who in turn hired hacker Alain Quiros to obtain the records.

Neither Barker nor Landis was present for the trial and both are subject to international arrest warrants. Lawyers for the men had pleaded their innocence.

In the same trial, the court fined French state energy giant EDF 1.5 million euros ($2 million) for using the consultancy to spy on environmental campaigners Greenpeace.

EDF admitted hiring the consultancy to "monitor" Greenpeace but said it was unaware that Quiros had hacked into the computer of the group's former head of campaigns for France, Yannick Jadot, in 2006.

Greenpeace's anti-nuclear campaigning regularly targets EDF, which runs France's network of 58 electricity-producing nuclear reactors.

Two former EDF executives responsible for security at the group were also found guilty.

Pierre-Paul Francois was sentenced to three years in prison, with 30 months suspended, and Pascal Durieux was sentenced to three years with two years suspended and a 10,000 euro fine. Durieux's lawyer said he would appeal.

EDF and the two men were also ordered to pay 500,000 euros in damages to Greenpeace.

For his part the hacker, Quiros, was sentenced to two years in prison, of which 18 months will be suspended, and a fine of 4,000 euros.

The court also sentenced Thierry Lorho, a one-time agent with French spy agency DGSE and the former head of Kargus Consultants, to three years in prison, two of which will be suspended, and a 4,000 euro fine.

His associate Jean-Francois Dominguez, the former paratrooper, was given the same sentence.

Former Greenpeace campaigner Jadot said the ruling was a slap in the face to EDF, declaring: "This was a moral failure by a major company that has touted itself as ethical."

"The fine against EDF, and the damages awarded to Greenpeace, send a strong signal to the nuclear industry that no one is above the law," Greenpeace France spokeswoman Adelaide Colin said in a statement.

"This case of EDF's spying should send another signal to any country considering building reactors that the nuclear industry can't be trusted," Colin said.

EDF lawyer Alexis Gublin said the company was considering whether to appeal.

Monique Dore, the lawyer acting for the French anti-doping agency, also hailed the ruling against Landis.

"It was important that Floyd Landis and his former trainer be found guilty, since they insulted everyone by refusing to come to the trial," she said.

Landis has quit racing, after finally admitting last year he took part in the doping that has blighted the sport in recent years.

Explore further: Weibo IPO below expectations, raises $285.6 mn

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Greenpeace launches Rainbow Warrior III

Oct 14, 2011

Greenpeace launched its latest weapon in the fight against environmental destruction Friday -- a multi-million-euro purpose-built campaign ship named Rainbow Warrior III.

Frenchman convicted for hacking Obama's Twitter

Jun 25, 2010

(AP) -- A court in central France has convicted a young Frenchman accused of infiltrating Twitter and peeping at the account of President Barack Obama, and given him a five-month suspended prison sentence.

Three in China convicted for iPad2 design theft

Jun 15, 2011

A court in south China has jailed three people for stealing the design to Apple's iPad2 tablet computer and using it to manufacture counterfeits, state press said Wednesday.

Credit card hacker sentenced to 10 years in prison

Jul 23, 2011

Rogelio Hackett, who stole more than half a million credit card numbers used to rack up nearly $40 million in illicit debt, was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison and fined $100,000.

Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior III debuts

Jul 04, 2011

Greenpeace unveiled a new weapon in its campaign against environmental destruction on Monday -- a 23 million euro ($33.4 million) ship dubbed the Rainbow Warrior III. ...

Recommended for you

Weibo IPO below expectations, raises $285.6 mn

2 hours ago

Sina Weibo sold fewer shares than expected in its US IPO which was priced below expectations ahead of a Thursday listing that takes place after tech selloffs on Wall Street.

'Chief Yahoo' David Filo returns to board

3 hours ago

Yahoo announced the nomination of three new board members, including company co-founder David Filo, who earned the nickname and formal job title of "Chief Yahoo."

Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work

4 hours ago

Yahoo's recently fired chief operating officer, Henrique de Castro, left the Internet company with a severance package of $58 million even though he lasted just 15 months on the job.

IBM posts lower 1Q earnings amid hardware slump (Update)

13 hours ago

IBM's first-quarter earnings fell and revenue came in below Wall Street's expectations amid an ongoing decline in its hardware business, one that was exacerbated by weaker demand in China and emerging markets.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Sony's PlayStation 4 sales top seven million

Sony says it has sold seven million PlayStation 4 worldwide since its launch last year and admitted it can't make them fast enough, in a welcome change of fortune for the Japanese consumer electronics giant.

Robotics goes micro-scale

(Phys.org) —The development of light-driven 'micro-robots' that can autonomously investigate and manipulate the nano-scale environment in a microscope comes a step closer, thanks to new research from the ...

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

(Phys.org) —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...