December 4, 2022

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Greek intelligence chief resigns amid wiretapping allegations

Greek intelligence chief resigns amid wiretapping allegations

ATHENS (Reuters) – The head of Greece’s intelligence service resigned on Friday amid increasing scrutiny of proxy surveillance practices, including accusations that an opposition party leader was wiretapped in 2021.

A statement issued by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ office said Panagiotis Kontolio, head of the EYP intelligence service, had submitted his resignation “after wrongful actions were found during legal wiretapping procedures.”

Kontollion could not be immediately reached for comment.

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Earlier this week, two lawmakers who spoke to Reuters on the condition of anonymity said Contilion admitted during a parliamentary committee hearing on July 29 that his service spied on Thanassis Koukakis, a financial journalist working for CNN Greece. Read more

This closed-door hearing was called after the leader of the opposition PASOK Socialist Party, Nikos Androllakis, filed a complaint with the court’s top prosecutors about an attempted wiretapping of his mobile phone with a surveillance software in September 2021. Read more

Androllakis, who was elected leader of the PASOK movement in December 2021, said Friday night that he also learned that the EYP had listened to his talks in late 2021. He did not reveal the source of the information.

Andrulakis called on the Greek parliament to set up an investigation committee to look into the case and accused the government of downplaying the issue.

“Today we found out that the EYP, which reports directly to the Prime Minister, proceeded to wiretap me during the internal election process for the PASOK leadership,” he said.

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The government later said it learned of Androlakis’ surveillance, which it said was legal as the attorney general agreed, and sought to inform him “but Androlakis chose not to respond,” government spokesman Giannis Okonomou said in a statement.

Okonomo added that the ruling Conservative Party, which controls 157 deputies in the 300-seat House of Representatives, would support a request to form an investigative committee to look into the issue. For approval, such a proposal must be signed by 120 lawmakers.

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(Additional reporting by George Georgopoulos and Carolina Tajares) Editing by Ross Russell and Cynthia Osterman

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