Report: Greek Government Familiar With Spyware Seller

Investigative media outlet Inside Story published this week a report indicating that the Greek government covertly sent millions of dollars to a company that sells the illegal Predator spyware.

Report: Greek Government Familiar With Spyware Seller
Image credit: Reuters

Facts

  • Investigative media outlet Inside Story published this week a report indicating that the Greek government covertly sent millions of dollars to a company that sells the illegal Predator spyware.
  • While officials have tried to present the state's supplier Krikel and the spyware vendor Intellexa as two unrelated entities, the two companies had at least one transaction in July 2020 via the European payment system (SEPA).
  • This comes as the Inside Story report revealed that a group of businessmen had connections with both companies. A Reporters United investigation allegedly found that Grigoris Dimitriadis, the Secretary-General for the Prime Minister, is linked to Intellexa through a commercial relationship.
  • On Wednesday, the Greek government and opposition parties dissented over a draft bill on wiretapping, with government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou arguing that it "convincingly" addresses the issue, while main opposition party SYRIZA claimed it would allow the government to cover up the alleged incident.
  • Earlier this month, Greece's PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced a ban on spyware sales after the Greek media outlet Documento accused him of targeting journalists and potential political rivals in the latest episodes of a surveillance scandal that erupted over the summer.
  • It's unclear if all targeted individuals clicked on the link that installed the spyware. Those allegedly targeted included the finance minister, the foreign minister, two former ministers of civil protection, the development minister, the labor minister, and the tourism minister, among others.

Sources: Al Jazeera, Inside Story, Ekathimerini, New York Times, and Politico.

Narratives

  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by Greek Reporter. The reports of the Greek government conducting surveillance at the request of Prime Minister Mitsotakis are shameful and baseless lies. There is no evidence to support these allegations and no one in Greece can truly believe that the Prime Minister would track fellow government officials. If wiretapping has taken place, it was to surveil outside threats to the country and certainly not for internal targets by the state's intelligence agency.
  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Balkan Insight. Do not let Prime Minister Mitsotakis fool you. With his rogue attempts at wiretapping political opponents or covering up an autonomous intelligence service, he has failed to protect Greek democracy. On the surface, he appears to want to modernize surveillance for external threats — but behind closed doors, Mitsotakis is doing unscrupulous business as usual.