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The Interior Ministry appealed to Xavier Niel after having arrested him for hacking Canal Plus, at the age of 17.

The billionaire co-owner of the French newspaper Le Monde and one of the richest people in France, Xavier Niel, revealed last Sunday that as a young man he had dedicated himself to hacking and even spied on the mobile phone database of the time french president, François Mitterrand, and Robert Pandraud, who was the Delegate Minister of Security in the second government of President Jacques Chirac.

“I am in the press for hacking into the French mobile phone database, including that of the President of the Republic, François Mitterrand or Pandraud,” said Niel, recalling that the events took place in 1986.

In his statements during LCP’s ‘Les Grands Interviews’ program, Niel explained that he was hired by the Directorate for Territorial Surveillance (DST), currently known as ‘DGSI’. The intelligence service led by the country’s Interior Ministry resorted to Niel after having arrested him for hacking the French payment channel, Canal Plus, to the 17 years old.

“What they offered me at the time, is how to say ‘great piracy“he said, recalling that the security service wanted him to recruit other young people capable of cyber espionage.” Go ahead and try to form a group of young people to help us better understand this ecosystem. ”

“He was not in the secret service. He was a kind of part-time correspondent who regularly told them what we were finding, what we were seeing, in our world of piracy,” said the magnate. He also said he was also tasked with spying on the automaker Renault.

Niel did not disclose how DST used the information it gathered.

Who is Xavier Niel?

As of today, the 52-year-old billionaire, who owns around 8,000 million euros and holds the majority of the shares of his telecommunications group, Iliad Free, is listed as the 21st richest person in France.

However, in his past he had been offering adult services on the French forerunner of the Internet, Minitel, and in 1997 sold most of his stakes in pornography. Later, in 2004, he was arrested for allegedly profiting from prostitution and for tax evasion. Niel was found not guilty of the first accusation and was fined 250,000 euros. The magnate and his partners acquired the newspaper Le Monde in 2010.

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