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European parliament pushes probe of Greek spyware scandal

19/08/2022 09:42

After one of its own – Nikos Androulakis – reportedly had his phone tapped and an attempt to put spyware on it – the European Parliament offered to help Greek authorities investigate the case.

Androulakis is also the leader of the PASOK Socialist party in Greece and said he only discovered the spyware attempt after he took his phone to the European Parliament research lab.

That was before he found out that his conversations were being listened to, which he said was by the National Intelligence Service (EYP) which admitted doing the same to financial reporter Thanasis Koukakis and putting Predator spyware on his cell phone after he clicked on a link a text message.

The attempt to install it on Androulakis’ phone failed when he didn’t open an attachment but he demanded an investigation in Greece, to which Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ New Democracy government agreed.

That will be taken up when the Greek Parliament returns early from summer recess on Aug. 22 and what’s expected to be a ferocious debate will begin as Mitsotakis faces a re-election campaign in 2023, the spyware scandal rocking the government.

“Illegal surveillance of members’ communications is intolerable and inexcusable,” said Juri Laas, spokesman for European Parliament President Roberta Metsola, who has no real power to do anything about it.

“Such infringements of the principles and values which form the basis of our democratic system cannot be tolerated, irrespective of the member state where they occur,” he said, reported Reuters.

The European Parliament, which has 705 members, has a committee investigating use of the Pegasus spyware in the 27-nation bloc, said to be in widespread use against top politicians.

Metsola wants the committee to examine the Greek case in an attempt to stop use of spyware, said Laas, although Dutch MEP Sophia in ‘t Veld, who heads the Pegasus committee, said the surveillance technique is too irrestible for governments.

The European Parliament has already received an initial request for information from the Greek authorities and will share its findings “in the coming days,” he added without explaining what that could be.