By Magda Panoutsopoulou
ATHENS (AA) - The Greek parliament Committee on Institutions and Transparency held a closed-door meeting Friday to discuss a tapping accusation complaint filed by opposition PASOK-Movement for Change leader Nikos Androulakis.
Androulakis, who is the leader of Greece’s third-largest party and a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), filed a complaint Tuesday with the Supreme Court Prosecutor after discovering his mobile phone had been tapped by the illegal surveillance spyware, Predator.
Although government spokesman Yannis Economou said that justice would take care of the matter, the conservative government of the New Democracy has been vastly criticized.
“We are not only talking about the filing of a complaint in the case of Nikos Androulakis, but about an incident that has been confirmed by the European Parliament. The European Parliament certifies that the mobile phone of a leader of a Greek parliamentary party has been tapped using the Predator malware, which we learn has been procured by the Greek authorities," SYRIZA spokesman Nasos Iliopoulos said Thursday in an interview with the Kontra TV Channel.
He said opposition parties will continue to press for answers at the Greek and European levels regarding reports of illegal surveillance on the phones of politicians and journalists, noting that "(Prime Minister) Kyriakos Mitsotakis is himself exposed over the Predator case."
Iliopoulos noted the case of journalist Thanasis Koukakis, who also filed a complaint after discovering in April that his mobile phone had been hacked by the spyware from July 12 to Sept. 24, 2021.
He said the Mitsotakis government passed an amendment into law so that the Authority for Ensuring the Privacy of Communications does not inform citizens if they have been a victim of a malicious practice.
“For this, the government should apologize," Mitsotakis Iliopoulos.
Meanwhile, MEPs of SYRIZA - Progressive Alliance said: “Almost three days after the shocking revelation of Nikos Androulakis about the attempt to monitor his mobile phone through the very expensive Predator malware, and the Greek government is still silent on whether a state agency has this particular spying software at its disposal.”
Sophie in’t Veld, a Dutch lawmaker and chairwoman of the European Parliament’s special committee on spyware, said: “Governments are buying this stuff and it’s very, very difficult for them to resist the temptation to use it for political purposes.”
“It’s too early to say what’s going on here, but it doesn’t look good does it?” she said. “It doesn’t matter if the phone wasn’t compromised, the political fact is that there was an attempt.”
“As you know, the Commission doesn’t comment on individual cases. More generally, what we can say is that we are aware of the media reports regarding spyware used by some governments,” an EU spokesperson told the Euractiv website.
“Any attempts by national security services to illegally access data of citizens, including journalists and political opponents, if confirmed, is unacceptable,” the spokesperson added.
The Greek government has denied purchasing the program.