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Ministers, Ex-PM Targeted in Greece Wiretap Scandal

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A former prime minister and more than 30 politicians, journalists and businessmen were targeted by state surveillance in Greece in a scandal that has squeezed the conservative government, a report said Saturday. online news

Leftist weekly Documento reported the list of targets included former premier Antonis Samaras, current members of the cabinet and shipping magnate Vangelis Marinakis, owner of Olympiakos and Nottingham Forest football clubs.

Illegal software known as Predator was used in collaboration with technology employed by Greece’s state intelligence agency EYP, the newspaper added.

Influential members of the conservative New Democracy party, potential rivals in any future leadership challenge to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, were among those targeted, the newspaper said.

“The evidence is missing,” said government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou, who nonetheless called on judicial authorities to investigate what the newspaper has reported.

A policeman lays injured on the road after an attack by protesters as his colleagues try to help him during clashes in Athens, Tuesday, March 9, 2021. Severe clashes broke out Tuesday in Athens after youths protesting an incident of police violence attacked a police station with petrol bombs, and severely injured one officer. (AP Photo/Aggelos Barai)

He accused the report of trying to “hurt” the government and undermine stability.

The weekly, which has close links to the main opposition Syriza party, sourced its information to “two people with key roles in the surveillance” and said illegal software was also used to tap mobile phones.

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On Friday, a European Parliament committee investigating wiretaps in Greece and other EU states called for a deeper investigation of the case.

A Greek parliamentary committee set up to investigate the scandal folded after a month, and critics said it failed to summon key witnesses.

The affair exploded in July when Nikos Androulakis — an MEP and leader of Greece’s Socialist party — filed a complaint against alleged attempts to tap his mobile phone using Predator spyware.

Within days, it emerged that Androulakis under surveillance separately by Greek intelligence before he became leader of Pasok, the country’s third largest party.

Two Greek journalists and another senior opposition politician also claim to have been under surveillance.

The scandal forced the resignations in August of the Greek intelligence service chief as well as a close aide and nephew to the prime minister.

The Greek government has flatly denied using illegal surveillance software. It has admitted that state intelligence monitored Androulakis, without disclosing the reason.

“Surveillance software exists in Greece as in the rest of Europe, but no (Greek) public authority has purchased or uses it,” Oikonomou said Saturday.

Mitsotakis has promised to ban the use of illegal wiretaps by law.

But critics note that one of his first acts when he became prime minister in 2019 was to attach the national intelligence service to his personal office.


© Agence France-Presse. All rights are reserved.

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