Greek police have raided the offices of an intelligence company owned by a former Israeli army intelligence officer, amid a scandal caused by its spyware targeting Greek opposition politicians, journalists and possibly civilians.
In the Greek capital Athens, the police conducted the evening raids on the offices of Intellexa and the homes of company executives, as well as the offices of five other companies including Krikel, an electronic security systems provider.
This comes amid an ongoing wiretapping scandal in which Greece's government and intelligence services have been embroiled over the past several months, following revelations that the 'Predator' spyware was found on the mobile and computer devices of prominent journalists and the leader a main opposition party, as well as dozens of ministers, military figures and business leaders.
In what the EU Parliament called "a huge problem for democracy and the rule of law", the use of the Predator spyware – a less sophisticated version of the infamous Israeli Pegasus spyware – by Greek intelligence was acknowledged by the country's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in August.
Calling it a mistake that should never have occurred, he said that while it was apparently legal and "may have been in accordance with the letter of the law…it was wrong", claiming that "I did not know [about the spying] and obviously I would never have allowed it."
READ: Israel's Predator spyware rivals NSO's Pegasus
According to officials in the centre-right Greek government, the wiretaps had reportedly been ordered by the Ukrainian and Armenian intelligence services. So far, however, the government has refused to confirm whether the Predator spyware was also used for surveillance against Greek citizens.
Following the revelations of the ongoing scandal, the head of Greek intelligence has resigned and Athens is pursuing plans to attempt to ban the sale of spyware and regulate surveillance.
In addition to its alleged involvement in the Greek surveillance scandal, Intellexa was also recently revealed to have transferred high-end phone surveillance equipment to Sudan and its Rapid Support Forces militia – accused of numerous war crimes – in May this year by private jet.
Founded in 2019 and owned by a former senior Israeli military intelligence officer named Tal Dilian, who many believe lives in Cyprus, the shadowy surveillance company operates in numerous countries and claims to be regulated by the European Union (EU).
Despite the identity of its founder and owner, however, Intellexa has no listed location of headquarters and has no official presence in Israel. That means it is unbound by Israeli legal restrictions and does not have to act in accordance with Israeli law, which reportedly makes it far more dangerous than other Israeli companies such as the infamous NSO Group, the creator of the Pegasus spyware.
OPINION: The totalitarian dream, Gulf and Israeli surveillance is going global