Wiretapping scandal in Greece: Armenia’s name is voiced behind the scenes
    Yerevan is said to have practice in using Predator surveillance malware

    ANALYTICS  09 August 2022 - 11:19

    Mushvig Mehdiyev

    The government of Greece and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis have been put on a hot seat over a wiretapping scandal that led to a big political crisis in the country. Allegations over the meddling by foreign special services in the espionage campaign have even further fanned the flames of the incident.

    An espionage scandal surfaced after Greek intelligence service chief Panagiotis Kontoleon admitted on July 29 that his agents used surveillance malware to spy on Thanasis Koukakis, a financial journalist who works for CNN Greece, and Nikos Androulakis, the leader of the third-largest party in the Greek parliament, PASOK.  

    Konteleon and the government’s Secretary-General Grigoris Dimitriadis, who was also a top aide and nephew of PM Mitsotakis, have resigned after the revelations of espionage attempts using a malware called Predator. The malware’s penetration into Androulakis’ phone was discovered during an inspection by a European Parliament cybersecurity service.

    PASOK party leader Nikos Androulakis

    After stepping down, on August 6, EYP chief Konteleon confirmed the reports about cooperation with foreign secret services over the spying on separate persons.

    Greek newspaper Kathimerini wrote on the same day that the information leaked from government sources pointed the finger at Armenia and Ukraine as the meddlers from overseas in the illegal espionage on the journalist.

    In media reports, the Greek government officials said the spying on Androulakis at the request of the Ukrainian and Armenian intelligence services was because “he is too close to Russia and Turkey”.

    Recall that the Armenian government’s relations with Russia have been souring over the recent period, in particular, following Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s rise to power. Pashinyan’s West-oriented foreign policy has not been satisfying Moscow, and, for his part, the Armenian PM has been periodically questioning Russia’s role in helping resolve domestic and regional issues. Following the recent activities of the Russian military in the territory of Armenia, including the installation of highway checkpoints to inspect vehicles registered in Armenia, the Armenian society labelled Russia as an “ordinary occupant” rather than a strategic ally.

    Meanwhile, the Armenian Ambassador to Greece Tigran Mkrtchyan has adamantly denied the reports about Yerevan’s involvement in the wiretapping scandal.

    "This is a shameless lie. Armenia has never asked any government to wiretap anyone's phones," Armenian Ambassador Mkrtchyan told the news portal politispress.gr.

    Despite the ambassador’s vehement denial, Armenia is reportedly linked to the Predator software, which is able to grab full access to everything on the hacked phone — from encrypted data and the camera to the microphone. Citizen Lab, a Canada-based research outlet, claimed that the malware was developed by start-up Cytrox with its headquarters in North Macedonia, and its customers are likely located in Armenia, Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Madagascar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Serbia.

    Moreover, similar findings were made by Google's Threat Analysis Group, which in May, said the "government-backed actors" in Egypt, Armenia, Greece, Madagascar, Côte d'Ivoire, Serbia, Spain, and Indonesia have used the surveillance malware.

    In June, Reporters United, a network of reporters and a nonprofit organization to support investigative journalism in Greece, claimed that the Greek government’s resigned secretary-general Dimitriadis was in contact with the companies selling Predator, a claim that was denounced by him.

    Meanwhile, the head-spinning developments over the scandal pushed PM Mitsotakis to deliver an address to the nation on August 8 in an attempt to explain the shocking incident that has already shaken the trust in his government.

    “Although everything was done lawfully, the National Intelligence Service (EYP) underestimated the political dimension of that particular action. It was formally adequate but politically unacceptable. It should not have happened [and it] undermined citizens’ confidence in national intelligence,” Mitsotakis said.

    “[The surveillance] may have abided with the letter of the law, but it was wrong. I had no knowledge of this; and, If I did, I would never have allowed it,” he said.

    He pledged to restructure EYP after the incident that put the activities of the Greek secret service under question.

    Caliber.Az is closely following the issue and will report on further developments.


Read also

What changed in two years since start of Second Karabakh War Timeline of main events from Sept. 27, 2020 to date

27 September 2022 - 16:29

Can women-led protests sway Iran’s theocratic regime’s foundation? Hijab unrests turn into anti-regime outburst

27 September 2022 - 11:20

Dangerous about-face in Armenia's foreign policy Pivot towards West

27 September 2022 - 12:29

How Karabakh militants 'rescued' Istisu The story of armed gangs' sortie

27 September 2022 - 10:23

Russian TV in Armenia: To be or not to be?

27 September 2022 - 11:17

True origin of Iranian angst is the agony of self-knowledge A magnified glance at the Zangazur Corridor

26 September 2022 - 16:10
Latest news

    88-year-old skydiver still pushes limits despite his age

    29 September 2022 - 03:30

    Russian envoy blames West for using Ukraine as "mercenary"

    29 September 2022 - 03:00

    Saudi crown prince to de-jure lead government as PM

    29 September 2022 - 02:30

    "Don't be afraid of artificial intelligence"

    Because humans are in control

    29 September 2022 - 02:00

    US shadows Chinese yuan in record-high price surge

    29 September 2022 - 01:30

    Swiss glaciers melt away at record rate

    29 September 2022 - 01:00

    Onshore wind energy projects can now use recyclable turbine blades

    29 September 2022 - 00:32

    Undersea heat destroys Mediterranean corals, reducing them to skeletons

    29 September 2022 - 00:04

    How lack of sleep can harm immune stem cells

    28 September 2022 - 23:30

    Turkish president slams PKK for exploiting women

    28 September 2022 - 23:00

    Italian astronaut: International Space Station "beacon of hope"

    28 September 2022 - 22:30

    UN envoy: Patience running out for engagement with Taliban

    28 September 2022 - 22:00

    Poland calls for Russia's expulsion from IAEA

    28 September 2022 - 21:30

    European Commission stands for ceiling on oil prices in new package of sanctions


    28 September 2022 - 20:48

    Azerbaijani athlete wins bronze at European Open Championships

    28 September 2022 - 20:30

    Lithuania to provide Ukrainian servicemen with winter uniforms

    28 September 2022 - 20:17

    Defence ministry: Azerbaijani serviceman wounded as result of Armenia’s shelling

    28 September 2022 - 20:07

    Azerbaijani delegation with Kharibulbul badges attends meeting at White House

    28 September 2022 - 19:43

    Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan sign memorandum of strategic partnership on Trans-Caspian project


    28 September 2022 - 19:25

    Germany predicts state of emergency consequences on Nord Stream

    28 September 2022 - 19:15

    French special envoy for South Caucasus to visit Azerbaijan

    28 September 2022 - 19:03

    Georgian Foreign Ministry summons Belarussian ambassador

    Due to Belarussian president's visit to Abkhazia

    28 September 2022 - 18:54

    Minister: Russia not intend to close YouTube

    28 September 2022 - 18:44

    Chief of Azerbaijani Army’s General Staff meets with Georgian defence minister


    28 September 2022 - 18:16

    Media: Armenian PM to hold closed meeting with his party members

    28 September 2022 - 18:12

    Turkish Army kills 10 terrorists in Syria


    28 September 2022 - 18:02

    Economist: New influx of Russians to Armenia to cause another wave of inflation

    28 September 2022 - 17:42

    US considers new sanctions against Russia

    28 September 2022 - 17:28

    Georgia proposes to impose "occupation duty" for Russians

    28 September 2022 - 17:16

    President Aliyev, First Lady Aliyeva view conditions created in building of Special Representation of President in Shusha

    28 September 2022 - 17:00

    Belarus inspects mobilisation readiness of air base

    28 September 2022 - 16:50

    Erdogan: "Referendums" to thwart Ukraine diplomacy

    28 September 2022 - 16:47

    Azerbaijan, Türkiye can deepen energy cooperation

    28 September 2022 - 16:40

    President Aliyev, First Lady Aliyeva view construction progress at new residential complex in Shusha


    28 September 2022 - 16:37

    Official: Azerbaijan needs 25 years to demine liberated lands

    28 September 2022 - 16:31

    Azerbaijan unveils number of people to be resettled in Karabakh till 2026

    28 September 2022 - 16:20

    Tajikistan allows local banks to halt Russia’s “Mir” payment system 

    28 September 2022 - 16:15

    Trans-Adriatic pipeline now Italy's second gas supplier after Algeria

    28 September 2022 - 16:12

    Iranian supreme leader dies or in coma?

    News from Tehran

    28 September 2022 - 16:10

    Expert: Moldova-Azerbaijan relations almost non-existent

    Victor Josu replies Caliber.Az

    28 September 2022 - 15:59

    President’s spokesman claims Russia’s losses following accident at Nord Stream

    28 September 2022 - 15:55

    Two PKK terrorists detained at Greek-Turkish border


    28 September 2022 - 15:45

    Swedish delegation to hold NATO talks in Türkiye

    28 September 2022 - 15:42

    Mines buried by Armenian saboteurs in Kalbajar neutralized

    28 September 2022 - 15:40

    US recommends its citizens immediately leave Russia

    28 September 2022 - 15:35

All news