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Politics

Cypriot Deputy AG Denies Cover-Up in 2019 Spyware Van Case

NICOSIA – Cyprus’ Deputy Attorney-General Savvas Angelides said that dropping charges against an Israeli ex-intelligence officer believed operating a spy van in 2019 was not part of a cover-up.

The story resurfaced after revelations in Greece about the wiretapping and attempt to put Predator spyware on the phone of PASOK political leader Nikos Androulakis, who said the National Intelligence Service (EYP) was behind it.

The businessman, Tal Dilian, is CEO of Intellexa, which sells the spyware and moved offices from Cyprus to Athens after the discovery of the spy van on the island which he boasted could take over cell phones.

Opposition politicians said the government tried to hide the dangers from the spy van in not charging three defendants, including Dilian but Angelides said that there was no link to the case in Greece, The Cyprus Mail reported.

He laid out what he said were the facts of the black van case “to give the correct dimension of the facts of the case and to correct any false impressions that have been, intentionally or not, created.”

Rival political leaders had questioned why the case was dropped but Angelides now said it was done after an exhaustive review by law enforement and telecommunications experts who found nothing wrong.

He also said elecronic data extracted from the seized equipment were sent to a specialized department of Europol for further investigation and analysis before the case was given up.

Investigations, he added, showed that no data was found that tended to show that the equipment was used or operated in practice for monitoring or interception of any form of communication (oral or written) between users or interception of electronic files from devices.

He noted there were allegations he had an association with Dilian but said they were unsubstantiated and “touch on mud-slinging and their ultimate purpose is to hurt the Legal Service of the Republic and my person,” denying any connection.

He noted that the company pleaded guilty to 42 charges before the court and was fined 1 million euros ($1.03 million although no charges were brought against Dilian or the others.

“If there was even a trace of evidence concerning interceptions or interceptions of any form of communication content (oral or written), then the criteria for the course of the case would be completely different,” he said, the paper added.

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