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Head of Greece intelligence resigns following spyware scandal

August 6, 2022 at 11:21 am

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in Brussels on May 30, 2022 [Dursun Aydemir – Anadolu Agency]

The Greek Prime Minister’s office announced on Friday the resignation of the head of Greece’s intelligence service, Panagiotis Kontoleon, amid an alleged spyware scandal against a politician and journalist using the illegal surveillance malware, Predator.

The Greek government’s statement noted: “The national intelligence head submitted his resignation, which was accepted by the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.”

The government ruled out “any involvement of the state in the alleged spying operation,” while Greek and foreign journalist unions expressed their “concern” regarding the freedom of the press in Greece.

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The resignation comes one week after discovering the attempt to use the spyware programme, Predator, to spy on Nikos Androulakis, leader of the opposition Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK) and a member of European Parliament.

Androulakis submitted a complaint a few days ago to the Greek Supreme Court regarding an attempt to spy on his mobile phone.

European Parliament established a special service allowing Members of the European Parliament to check their phones for illegal spyware after scandals surrounding Israel’s Pegasus programme.

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On 28 June, 2022, Androulakis used this service to check his phone as a precaution.According to a PASOK statement: “A suspicious link connected to the Predator programme had been discovered.”

Androulakis is a member of European Parliament and was elected on the list of his socialist party in 2014 and 2019. He has been leading the party since December after the death of its former president, Fofi Gennimata.