French chips are Russian target

The French intelligence service has moved against a Russian operation aimed at stealing Western technology. They had been watching a company named Ommic and this week arrested executives of the company together with the businessman who had majority control of the shares. Interstingly, that businessman was not Russian as you might expect, but Chinese. It is possible that this was an operation in which the Russian and Chinese intelligence services have co-operated to their mutual advantage. If so, it is rare for these operations to be discovered.

Ommic specialises in the production of semi-conductors which are an essential part of modern military technology. These semi-conductors are also a major target for the Russian intelligence services as they are vital to Russia’s domestic economy. Investigators claim that Ommic transferred more than $13 million worth of dual-use semi-conductors (i.e. They could be used for military or civilian purposes). The semi-conductors were shipped via several different countries including Lithuania, Turkey, India – and China once again. Another sign that it may have been a dual operation.

Investigators say that the final destination of all these semi-conductors was the Russian defence industry which is facing considerable shortages because of the demands of the war in Ukraine. Even so, if the Chinese were involved they will have taken their cut.

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