Russia detains Bonduelle employee on suspicion of obtaining a state secret

(Reuters) - A Moscow court has sent a Russian citizen who works for French company Bonduelle to a pre-trial detention centre on suspicion of unlawfully obtaining information constituting a state secret, the TASS news agency reported on Monday.

Citing a source in the Russian law enforcement services, TASS said the employee Dmitry Blinov works for Bonduelle-Kuban LLC – an operation in Russia's southern region of Krasnodar of plant-based food producer Bonduelle. It said he will be held in the detention centre until Sept. 25.

Bonduelle in France confirmed to Reuters that it employed Blinov and said the company was willing to help the judicial authorities with their investigation, but that its activities were entirely unrelated to state secrets.

"The company would like to point out that its activities in Russia are in no way linked to the use of information that would constitute a state secret," Bonduelle said.

Bonduelle mainly sells canned and frozen vegetables in Russia. It owns three processing plants and employs about 800 people in the country.

TASS said Blinov would face up to eight years in prison if found guilty, but said he would have a right to appeal.

The Moscow court and Bonduelle's offices in Moscow and Krasnodar did not answer Reuters' phone calls.

(Reporting by Reuters; editing by Barbara Lewis)