French former spy chief cleared of 2 counts

Last Updated: Thu, Dec 13, 2012 19:01 hrs

A Paris appeals court has rejected two of three charges against the former head of France's domestic intelligence agency over allegedly illegal monitoring of a journalist's phone conversations.

The case against former DCRI police agency chief Bernard Squarcini was an issue in France's presidential campaign this year.

DCRI was said to illegally collect records of phone conversations between a Le Monde newspaper reporter and a Justice Ministry source under President Nicolas Sarkozy — a Squarcini ally. Sarkozy lost the presidency to Socialist Francois Hollande in May.

Defense lawyer Patrick Maisonneuve said Thursday that the dismissed charges were: violating the right to secret correspondence and receiving improper records.

Squarcini could face up to five years in prison if convicted on the remaining charge related to the improper gathering of personal information.

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