Greek intelligence chief resigns over wiretapping allegations

Greek intelligence chief resigns over wiretapping allegations

ATHENS, Aug 5 (Reuters) – The head of Greece’s intelligence service resigned on Friday after increased scrutiny of the agency’s surveillance practices, including an allegation by an opposition party leader that he was bugged in 2021.

Panagiotis Kontoleon, head of EYP intelligence, submitted his resignation “following erroneous actions detected during lawful wiretapping,” according to a statement from Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ office.

Kontoleon could not be immediately reached for comment.

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Earlier this week, two lawmakers who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity said Kontoleon had admitted during a parliamentary committee hearing on July 29 that his service had spied on Thanasis Koukakis, a financial journalist working for CNN Greece. Continue reading

This closed-door hearing was convened after the leader of the opposition socialist party PASOK, Nikos Androulakis, filed a complaint with the Supreme Court prosecutor’s office in September 2021 for attempting to bug his mobile phone with surveillance software. read more

Androulakis, who was elected PASOK leader in December 2021, said Friday night he also learned that EYP overheard his conversations in late 2021. He did not disclose the source of the information.

Androulakis called on the Greek parliament to set up a committee of inquiry to investigate the case and accused the government of downplaying the issue.

“We found out today that EYP, which reports directly to the Prime Minister, wiretapped me about the PASOK leadership during the internal election process,” he said.

The government later said it had been made aware of the surveillance of Androulakis, which it said was lawful as it had been authorized by a prosecutor, and had tried to inform him, “but Androulakis chose not to respond”. , government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou said in a statement.

Oikonomou added that the ruling Conservative Party, which controls 157 lawmakers in a 300-seat house, would back a motion to set up a committee of inquiry to investigate the matter. To pass, such a motion must be signed by 120 lawmakers.

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Reporting by George Georgiopoulos and Karolina Tagaris, Additional reporting by Renee Maltezou and Angeliki Koutantou; Edited by Ros Russell and Cynthia Osterman

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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