Chinese use honeytraps to spy on French companies, intelligence report claims
The use of honeytraps to extort information and the placement of spying interns are among the techniques employed by Chinese spies in their industrial espionage operations, according to leaked French intelligence files.
Among the cases cited by the intelligence reports, is the predicament of a top researcher in a major French pharmaceutical company wined and dined by a Chinese girl who he ended up sleeping with.
"When he was shown the recorded film of the previous night in his hotel room ... he proved highly co-operative," said an economic intelligence official.
In another case, an unnamed French company realised too late that a sample of its patented liquid had left the building after the visit of a Chinese delegation. It turned out one of the visitors had dipped his tie into the liquid to take home a sample in order to copy it.
French companies should do more to protect themselves from prying eyes among the 30,000 Chinese students who conduct internships in France, warned experts.
Another technique is the "mushroom factory", in which French industries create a joint venture with a local Chinese firm and transfer part of their technology. Soon afterwards, the French "discover that local rivals have emerged ... offer identical products and are run by the Chinese head of the company that initiated the joint venture." Danone, the French dairy and drinks group allegedly fell foul of this technique when it teamed up with the Chinese drinks giant, Wahaha.
The revelations on Chinese spying techniques came as Renault, the French carmaker is embroiled in a massive espionage scandal involving three top executives over allegations they were paid to hand over car secrets to a Chinese firm. French intelligence officials were reportedly furious the part state-owned company had not asked for its help.France is drawing up a guide of good practice for French entrepreneurs. One of the rules is never hold meetings with Chinese delegations in rooms where sensitive briefings take place: they could subsequently be bugged.
Prison officer suspended for 'relationship with honey trap'
A prison director and warden in France have been suspended and placed under investigation after being seduced by a 21-year old 'honey trap' in prison for her role in luring a Jewish man to his death.
Florent Goncalves, 41, director of the women's prison of Versailles, told police that he had "fallen in love" with Emma Arbabzadeh, who worked for a group called the Gang of Barbarians, and intended to rebuild his life with her once she was released from prison, where she is halfway through a nine-year sentence.
He is under official investigation on suspicion of giving her "preferential treatment" in the shape of money, packages and telephone pin cards and other "objects forbidden to inmates".
A 36-year-old prison warden is also under investigation for allegedly succumbing to her charms and handing over telephone pin cards.
Investigators said Mr Goncalves admitted during questioning to having sexual relations with Miss Arbabzadeh between December 2009 and October 2010 in exchange for favours. The other man is not understood to have had intimate relations with her.
"She made (the two men) lose their senses," an investigator told Le Parisien, the newspaper.
Miss Arbabzadeh, formerly called Yalda, served as a honey trap to lure Ilan Halimi, a 23-year old French Jew working in Paris, to the suburb of Sceaux, where he was seized by members of the "Barbarians", who kidnapped him and kept him in a cellar in the suburb of Bagneux in 2006.
Over a period of three weeks, he was tortured – stabbed and burned – and deprived of food and clothes. He was found handcuffed and naked, tied to a tree on a railway outside Paris, but died en route to hospital.
The gang's leader, Youssouf Fofana was convicted to the maximum life sentence in France, eligible for parole after 22 years.
Some 23 others received sentences from three to 15 years.