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Wiretapping scandal: Greece’s Intelligence Service Chief, PM’s secretary step down

The head of Greece’s National Intelligence Service (EYP) and the secretary general of the Prime Minister’s office stepped down on Friday following persistent media reports of the wiretapping of the phone of a journalist as well as the leader of opposition party PASOK-KINAL.

The first resignation was submitted by the PM’s secretary general Grigoris Dimitriadis, who happens also to be a nephew of Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

Short time later also the head of EYP, Panagiotis Kontoleon, sent his resignation briefly citing “oversights.”

PM Mitsotakis accepted both resignations.

“The resignation of Mr. Dimitriadis was made in consultation with the prime minister and is aimed at disconnecting the surveillance case from the PM’s office,” government sources told media.

“The government and Mr. Dimitriadis have nothing to do with the Androulakis case. A “toxic political climate” has developed around the person of Mr. Dimitriadis, who was targeted by “specific circles, extremely dysfunctional both for the government and for Mr. Dimitriadis himself,” the sources said “in an effort to justify the Premier’s decision,” noted newspaper efsyn.gr

On his part, EYP chief Kontoleon cited in his resignation letter “oversights in the process of legal connections (surveillance).

Commenting on Kontoleon’s resignation, the same government sources said “some wrong actions do not reduce the important national services that the EYP has offered in recent years.” The sources spoke of “legal surveillance with a prosecutor’s permit, about which the PM’s office was not informed.” They added that “the person concerned will be accordingly informed about all the details and how the decision was taken by EYP.”

It is recalled that CnnGreece journalist Thanassis Koukakis was being surveilled by spyware Predator  for several months in 2021 “following a request by a foreign country for national security reasons,” as EYP sources told media last week.
Leader of PASOK-KINAL Dimitris Androulakis revealed in July that there was an attempt to bug his mobile phone in September 2021, while he was a MEP and that race for the party leadership was about to start.
The government and authorities in charge tried to downplay the wiretapping issue, promising vaguely to investigate. However, a few, independent media like news paper efsyn, and investigative websites reportersunited.gr and insidestory.gr kept digging on the story

On Thursday, daily efsyn published on its front page, a report about the business transactions of the PM’s general secretary with a businessman participating in a company selling the spyware Predator in Greece, during the critical period when there were attempts to hack the mobile phone of PASOK-KINAL leader.

Short time after his resignation on Friday, Dimitriadis filed a 150,000-euro lawsuit against two editors of reportersunited, asking them to retract the publication, a member of the editors team posted on social media.

Journalist Kasdaglis described the lawsuit as SLAPP (Strategic lawsuits against public participation).

It also recalled that Thanasis Koukakis himself, the journalist who was a victim of both EYP and Predator wiretapping, had spoken a few days ago in an interview with “Sto Kokkino” about the close relations of people from the Predator company with the prime minister’s environment.

In an article on another newspaper, the man in charge of Personal Data in ruling New Democracy, Vangelis Papakonstantinou, more or less blamed the surveillance victims for their surveillance status, writing that they should have “protected themselves” and not activated the links that install the malware on their cellphones.

However, things are not that simple as ruling ND wants to present them.

In an interview with insidestory.gr on Thursday, Dutch MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld, member of European Palriament PEGA committee on spyware and wiretapping, said that “the Europol and the European Public Prosecutor’s Office have to deal with the Predator in Greece.

Opposition demands snap polls

Prompt was the reaction by opposition parties left-wing and main opposition SYRIZA, socialist PASOK-KINAL and communist KKE.

The parties said more or less that the resignations do not relieve the government from its responsibilities in the surveillance scandal.

SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras stressed that “PM Mitsotakis owes explanations for his Watergate” and described Dimitriadis resignation as “admission of guilt.”

On social media Greeks demand early elections.

On its main opinion article, SYRIZA-affiliated newspaper avgi, notes: “In any case, #elections are now a one-way street, in order to return normalcy to the country, at least at the level of institutions and democracy.”

Replacements

Kontoleon, who was appointed to the post in August 2019, is replaced by Foreign Ministry Secretary General Themistoklis Demiris. Dimitiradis is replaced by Giannis Bratakos, chairman of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry and director at New Democracy.

Meanwhile the resignations are all over the international news agencies.

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