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Politics

Greek Former EU Lawmaker Got Voter Email Lists from Diaspora Chief

ATHENS – A New Democracy former Member of the European Parliament obtained a list of email addresses – to whom she sent a pitch for votes in June elections – from the government’s head of the Diaspora, who quit over the revelation.

That was revealed by government spokesman Pavlos Marinakis who said the ex-EU lawmaker Anna-Michelle Asimakopoulou in May 2023 got the names and addresses from the Secretary for Diaspora Affairs Nikos Theodoropoulos.

She also resigned and Interior Ministry General-Secretary Michalis Stavrianoudakis was fired over the incident, after an internal investigation carried out by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ office after he said, “There are questions that must be answered.”

Marinakis said the list of email addresses was allegedly acquired by an associate of Stavrianoudakis, who wasn’t named nor was it said how they were obtained. The list was then given to Asimakopoulou.

Marinakis said that the “data was passed on some time – weeks, months – before the emails were sent,” and that Theodoropoulos had it in his possession “many months before,” some time between the two general elections of 2023.

That violates European Union General Data Protection (GDPR) regulations, the data breach another embarrassment to the government after a phone bugging scandal and discovery that Predator spyware was in use, the government denying any role.

“My conscience does not permit me to inadvertently contribute to efforts that undermine the institution of postal voting, the Mitsotakis government, or the reputation of Greece,” Asimakopoulou said.

She said it was up to the judiciary now and that she had given information about the leak to the Hellenic Data Protection Authority, which has opened its own investigation as the Diaspora voters – who can vote by email – would have had to give permission to get emails.

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