Canadian police on Friday arrested one of their top intelligence officials for stealing sensitive documents for a foreign country that may be China, Canadian media reported.
Detained Cameron Ortis is facing five counts under the Canadian Criminal Code and the National Security Data Protection Act, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said in a statement.
Ortis was arrested Thursday in Ottawa, the national capital, where security and intelligence agencies are based, and on Friday he was formally referred to a judge, prosecutor John MacFarlane told the press.
He said Ortis should be brought to justice on Friday. He was placed in preventive detention until that date.
"The charges against him are to obtain, process and process sensitive information, with the intention of handing it over to persons who should not give it to them," he said.
"I can assure you that the authorities take this seriously," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is campaigning for a second term, told reporters at an election rally, without giving further details.
For his part, expressed his rival Conservative leader Andrew Sher "concern about the arrest of an intelligence element in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police leaked information about national security."
Sher, who is equal in opinion polls with the outgoing prime minister: "This is another reminder of the threats we face from foreign bodies."
According to Global Radio, which uncovered the case, the federal police feared that the agent had stolen "a great deal of information, which could put many investigations at risk."
Sources told the station it was a "serious espionage case," especially since Canada is a member of the "Five Eyes" intelligence alliance, which also includes Australia, New Zealand, Britain and the United States.
For his part, Radio Canada reported that Ortiz specializes in Southeast Asia and strategic infrastructure.
Bob Paulson, a senior national security adviser, was the former commander of the Royal Police who retired in June 2017.
On LinkedIn's social and professional website, a Cameron Ortis account indicates that he has been working for the Canadian government since 2007 after earning a doctorate in political science from the University of British Columbia, where he also earned a diploma in Internet System Management.
The account also indicates that the person knows the Mandarin language used in China, which is experiencing relations with Canada unprecedented diplomatic crisis.