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Greek intelligence chief quits amid wiretapping allegations

Written by Javed Iqbal

ATHENS, Aug 5 (Reuters) – The head of Greece’s intelligence service resigned on Friday amid increased scrutiny of the agency’s surveillance practices, including an accusation by an opposition party leader that he was wiretapped in 2021.

Panagiotis Kontoleon, head of the EYP’s intelligence service, tendered his resignation “following wrongdoing found during lawful wiretapping procedures,” a statement from Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ office said.

Kontoleon was not immediately available for comment.

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Earlier this week, two lawmakers who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity said Kontoleon had admitted during a July 29 parliamentary hearing that his service had spied on Thanasis Koukakis, a financial journalist working for CNN Greece. Read more

The closed hearing was called after the leader of the socialist opposition PASOK party, Nikos Androulakis, lodged a complaint with the Supreme Court prosecutors over an attempt to bug his mobile phone with surveillance software in September 2021. Read more

Androulakis, who was elected PASOK leader in December 2021, said on Friday night that he had also learned that the EYP was listening to his conversations at the end of 2021. He did not reveal the source of the information.

Androulakis called on the Greek parliament to set up a commission of inquiry to look into the matter and accused the government of trivializing the issue.

“We found out today that the EYP, which reports directly to the prime minister, continued to wiretap me during the internal election process over PASOK’s leadership,” he said.

The government later said it had been made aware of Androulakis’ surveillance, which it said was legal since it had been authorized by a prosecutor, and had sought to inform him, “but Androulakis chose not to respond,” government spokesman Giannis said Oikonomou in a statement.

Oikonomou added that the ruling Conservative Party, which controls 157 lawmakers in the 300-seat house, would support a request to set up an investigative committee to look into the issue. To be approved, such a proposal must be signed by 120 lawmakers.

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Reporting by George Georgiopoulos and Karolina Tagaris, Additional reporting by Renee Maltezou and Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Ros Russell and Cynthia Osterman

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Javed Iqbal

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