Greek intelligence chief resigns over wiretapping allegations

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

Panagiotis Kontoleon, head of EYP intelligence, tendered his resignation “after faulty actions found during legal wiretapping,” according to a statement from Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’s office.

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 admitted during a July 29 parliamentary committee hearing that his agency had been spying on Thanasis Koukakis, a financial journalist who works for CNN Greece. read more

That closed-door hearing was convened after the leader of the opposition socialist party PASOK Nikos Androulakis filed a complaint with top prosecutors in September 2021 about an attempt to tap his cell phone with surveillance software. read more

Androulakis, who was elected PASOK leader in December 2021, said Friday evening that he had also been informed that EYP had listened to his talks in late 2021. He did not disclose the source of the information.

Androulakis called on the Greek parliament to set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the matter and accused the government of downplaying the issue.

“We learned today that EYP, which reports directly to the Prime Minister, has bugged me about PASOK’s leadership during the internal election process,” he said.

The government later said it had been made aware of Androulakis’ surveillance, which it said was lawful because it had been approved by a prosecutor, and had tried to inform him “but Androulakis chose not to respond,” the government spokesman said. Giannis Oikonomou in a statement. a statement.

Oikonomou added that the ruling Conservative party, which controls 157 lawmakers in a 300-seat house, would support a request to set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the issue. To be passed, such a motion 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: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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