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Greek intelligence chief resigns over alleged spying scandal

Panagiotis Kontoleon, the head of Greece's intelligence service
Panagiotis Kontoleon, the head of Greece's intelligence service Copyright Credit: AP
Copyright Credit: AP
By Euronews with AFP
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Panagiotis Kontoleon resigned Friday over allegations Greece's National Intelligence Agency hacked the phones of a journalist and a socialist opposition leader.


The head of Greece’s intelligence service and the general secretary of the prime minister’s office have resigned amid allegations of the use of surveillance software against a journalist and the head of an opposition party.

National Intelligence Service director Panagiotis Kontoleon and Grigoris Dimitriadis, general secretary of the prime minister’s office, submitted their resignations Friday, the prime minister’s office said. Both were accepted.

Kontoleon resigned “following incorrect actions found in the procedure of legal surveillance”, the prime minister’s office said, without elaborating on which procedures were incorrectly followed or who the targets of legal surveillance might have been. Under Greek law, a prosecutor is required to sign off on any surveillance.

The prime minister’s office did not give a reason for Dimitriadis’ resignation. A government official said it was “related to the toxic climate that has developed around him. In no case does it have anything to do with Predator (spyware), to which neither he nor the government are in any way connected, as has been categorically stated”. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as the reasons for the resignation had not been announced.

Last week, the head of Greece’s socialist PASOK opposition party, Nikos Androulakis, filed a complaint with the country’s supreme court saying there had been an attempt to bug his cellphone with the Predator spyware.

Androulakis, who is also a member of the European Parliament, said he became aware of the attempt after being informed by the European Parliament’s cyber security service a few days before he filed his complaint on July 26.

“Revealing who is behind such sick practices and for whom they are acting is not a personal matter. It is my democratic duty,” Androulakis had said at the time.

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”.

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