Head of French Spy Agency Handed Initial Charges

PARIS -- An attorney for the head of France's DCRI counterespionage agency says his client has been handed preliminary charges in a probe into allegations of spying on journalists at the daily "Le Monde."

Patrick Maisonneuve says Bernard Squarcini was handed the charges Monday in connection with a suit filed last year by "Le Monde" alleging counterintelligence services helped identify a source leaking information about an investigation into the finances of Europe's richest woman.

Le Monde's suit alleged the office of President Nicolas Sarkozy used the DCRI to identify the leak, an allegation Sarkozy has denied.

Under French law, preliminary charges mean the investigating magistrate has sufficient reason to suspect wrongdoing.