Canada: Police charge ex-staff of space agency for illegal activities

Updated on Dec 09, 2021 12:01 PM IST

The charge, of breach of trust by a public officer, was filed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police after an investigation into the activities of Wanping Zheng, a resident of Brossard in Quebec.

The charge, of breach of trust by a public officer, was filed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police after an investigation into the activities of Wanping Zheng, a resident of Brossard in Quebec. (REUTERS)
The charge, of breach of trust by a public officer, was filed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police after an investigation into the activities of Wanping Zheng, a resident of Brossard in Quebec. (REUTERS)
ByAnirudh Bhattacharyya I Toronto

Canadian police have charged a former employee of the country’s space agency of illegally acting on behalf of a Chinese aerospace company.

The charge, of breach of trust by a public officer, was filed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) after an investigation into the activities of 61-year-old Wanping Zheng, a resident of Brossard in Quebec.

In a statement on Wednesday, the RCMP said he was “being charged in relation to illegal activities carried out alongside his duties at the Canadian Space Agency (CSA)”.

The Integrated National Security Enforcement team (INSET) started its probe into his activities in October 2019 after receiving information from the CSA’s Departmental Security. Zheng allegedly “used his status as a CSA engineer to negotiate agreements for the installation of satellite station facilities in Iceland. He allegedly acted on behalf of a Chinese aerospace company”, the RCMP said.

Zheng is scheduled to make a court appearance on December 15. Meanwhile, the CSA said that when “concerns about this individual’s private activities outside of their employment arose, the CSA took actions, including an internal inquiry and restricting access to information. As measures increased, the employment ceased, in 2019”.

It brought its concerns to the RCMP and actively collaborated in the investigation.

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