Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Wanping Zheng breach of trust CSA engineer to negotiate satellite Iceland

A Quebec man has been charged with misusing his position as a space agency to negotiate contracts for a Chinese corporation.

A Brossard, Quebec, man has been charged with breach of trust on allegations that he used his position as a Canadian Space Agency (CSA) engineer to negotiate satellite station installation agreements with Iceland on behalf of a Chinese aerospace business.

"We definitely believe this is an instance of foreign actor influence," said RCMP Inspector David Beaudoin, the person in charge of operations for the Quebec-based Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET).

The RCMP stated that it began examining 61-year-old Wanping Zheng's activities in 2019 after receiving information from the space agency's security department.

INSET's mission is to identify and neutralize foreign meddling. It conducts investigations into acts committed by or on behalf of foreign actors that pose a threat to Canada's economy and institutions, the RCMP stated in a media statement.

Wanping Zheng breach of trust CSA engineer to negotiate satellite Iceland
The RCMP alleges that Wanping Zheng used his position as a Canadian Space Agency engineer to negotiate agreements for the installation of satellite stations with Iceland on behalf of a Chinese aerospace company.

Beaudoin alleges that the man sought and facilitated contracts for satellite facilities in Iceland.

"All of this was done to benefit a Chinese aerospace company," he explained.

When asked what type of information was shared, Beaudoin stated that additional details would be disclosed in court.

According to CSA spokesperson Sarah Berjaoui, the employee left the organization in 2019.

"When concerns were raised about the offender's activities outside of work hours, the CSA took several actions, including conducting an internal investigation and restricting access to information," she explained, adding that the agency is continuing to strengthen its security to safeguard its information, people, and assets.

The RCMP classified the CSA as a significant component of Canada's critical infrastructure and a vital strategic asset that must be safeguarded.

Guy Saint-Jacques, a former ambassador to China, stated that China has long been interested in Canadian science and technology.

"In space, we have some very interesting niche applications, and this serves as a warning that we need to be much more alert against what I would term cyber espionage," he said. "Because the Chinese have a history of doing so." We need to be more thorough in our oversight of exchanges and staff supervision in order to catch individuals who may be lured to work with China."

'Protection is crucial,' says Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne, who also controls the space agency. His department has been striving to strengthen the security surrounding Canadian intellectual property and research.

"Security is a top priority for all of our agencies, but especially for the Canadian Space Agency," he stated Wednesday.

"I take a very firm stance, as do we, on the safety and security of all our agencies."

Earlier this year, the head of Canada's intelligence agency warned that practically every sector of the economy has been targeted by hostile foreign actors - specifically, Russia and China.

"The threat posed by hostile state actors in all of its manifestations poses a serious challenge to Canada's prosperity and sovereignty," David Vigneault, director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, said in his first public address in three years.

"Our investigations suggest that this danger has wreaked havoc on Canadian businesses."

On Dec. 15, Zheng is set to appear in court in Longueuil.


Shariff share buttons