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Androulakis accuses Mitsotakis of buying time in response to wiretapping scandal

Androulakis accuses Mitsotakis of buying time in response to wiretapping scandal

Nikos Androulakis, the PASOK leader whose phone was bugged by the country’s intelligence service, has accused Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of “methodically avoided providing explanations” in a bid to play for time in his televised address about the wiretapping scandal.

Androulakis, a member of European Parliament since 2014 who was elected PASOK leader in December 2021, said on Friday he had learned EYP listened to his conversations in late 2021.

In a statement issued after the prime minister’s address on Monday, Androulakis said that the premier “methodically avoided providing explanations about the deep-state branch set up” in the National Intelligence Service (EYP).

“The Predator spyware was used to tap into my phone, while only a few days earlier I had been placed under surveillance by EYP,” Androulakis stated, adding that “we would not have been aware of these dark practices had it not been for the European Parliament’s official report.”

In its own statements, EYP attributed the interest in the legally approved tapping to requests from authorities in Armenia and Ukraine, an involvement both countries denied through their embassies in Athens.

The case, which broke last week, has sparked uproar, with opposition parties demanding a thorough investigation and labelling the revelations Mitsotakis’ personal Watergate.

“The fairy tales about the supposed involvement of Armenia and Ukraine in my surveillance were debunked by their respective embassies in the most official and humiliating way for you,” Androulakis said, addressing Mitsotakis.

Androulakis said “reason why I was under surveillance by EYP be announced forthright,” charging that the surveillance, which Mitsotakis admitted was legally approved, was “in violation of the privacy of my communications as an MEP and candidate leader for PASOK-Movement for Change.”

“I will not accept any cover up, the clock is ticking against him,” Androulakis said, adding that Mitsotakis had attempted to “trivialize a key case for the separation of powers in our country.”

The issue was not personal but “it is a matter of democracy. It pertains to the anxiety of every citizen to want to live and raise their children in justice and absolute respect for human rights. I will continue the fight so that the justice system, the Greek Parliament and the European institutions bring the entire truth to light.”

PASOK is the country’s third-largest political party and was for decades the main political rival of Mitsotakis’ conservative New Democracy.

Androulakis filed a complaint with prosecutors at Greece’s Supreme Court on July 26 saying there had been an attempt to bug his cellphone with spyware named Predator.

Last week EYP head Panagiotis Kontoleon and the prime minister’s chief of staff Grigoris Dimitriadis unexpectedly resigned over the case.

Earlier, Mitsotakis said in his address: “What took place may have been lawful but it was a mistake. I did not know and obviously I would have never allowed it.”

He said he had only found out about Androulakis’ wiretapping “a few days ago,” and also announced measures to tighten control of the EYP intelligence service’s operations and boost transparency over its practices.

The main political opposition, the leftist Syriza party, said Mitsotakis had failed to answer burning questions, including why Androulakis was deemed a national security threat and was wiretapped.

Mitsotakis said the case highlighted the need for additional safety filters in intelligence operations, proposing to boost the oversight of the spy service by the parliament’s committee on institutions and transparency.

In April, Greek financial journalist Thanassis Koukakis said he had been notified by digital rights group Citizen Lab that his phone had been the target of surveillance by Predator software from July to September 2021. The Committee to Protect Journalists had called for a “swift and thorough investigation … (to) determine who orchestrated that monitoring, and hold them to account.”

The government has denied it uses Predator software, and Mitsotakis did not mention the journalist in his Monday address. [AMNA, Reuters, AP]

Source : Newsroom Σύνδεσμος

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