The government has refused to admit that it spied on its opponents, accusing them of fabricating the story for political gain
The Greek government planted spyware on the phones of dozens of politicians, journalists, state officials and businesspeople, according to an ongoing investigation by Documento, a Greek newspaper. A report on Sunday revealed that a police chief was targeted as well.
Documento, which has been investigating the scandal for several months, claimed that the former head of the Hellenic Police, Michalis Karamalakis, had ‘Predator’ spyware installed on his phone by the country’s National Intelligence Service (EYP), at the behest of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
The report brings to more than 100 the number of targets under alleged EYP’s surveillance. The list includes opposition politician Nikos Androulakis, prosecutor Christos Bardakis, journalists Tina Messaropoulou, Thanasis Koukakis, and Stavros Michaloudis, as well as a number of Mitsotakis’ own advisers and confidants.
Mitsotakis, who directly oversees the work of the EYP, denies any involvement in the scandal. After opposition leader Alexis Tsipras called on the PM to “stop hiding and give answers,” his spokesman, Yiannis Oikonomou, called the wiretapping claims “unproven and unsubstantiated.” Oikonomou accused Tsipras of “trying to create conditions of political anomaly” to justify “the looming defeat of [his party] in the upcoming elections.”
According to Documento’s reporting, Oikonomou also had his phone tapped by the EYP.
The scandal first emerged in early August, when Panagiotis Kontoleon, who led the EYP at the time, told a parliamentary committee that the intelligence agency had been spying on financial journalist Thanasis Koukakis. Earlier this month, a report by the European Parliament accused Greece and three other EU countries of utilizing the spyware to snoop on their citizens.
Developed by North Macedonian-based software firm Cytrox and linked to the Israeli defense industry, ‘Predator’ spyware is comparable to the Israeli-developed ‘Pegasus’ malware, which multiple governments and intelligence agencies were caught using last year. Both programs can access calls, messages, photos and files, and can secretly turn on target phones’ cameras and microphones.