ATHENS – Greece’s tax authority is investigating how tax information for the investigative news site United Reporters, which has been writing about a spyware and phone bugging scandal, was leaked.
That happened two days after the site’s reports about ongoing surveillance in the country, including by the National Intelligence Service EYP and Predator spyware, which the New Democracy government denied using.
The story had reported what the site said was an intimidation and smear campaign over its revelations that have continued to embarrass the government with rival parties also taking shots ahead of 2023 elections.
The site said that the the Independent Public Authority’s Internal Affairs Directorate Revenue (AADE) is probing the leak of its tax data.
“The immediate mobilization of AADE is extremely important, as the leak of our financial data is linked to an attempt to intimidate us while we continue the investigation into the wiretapping scandal,” the site added.
The report said that a week ahead of a suit brought by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ new and former advisor Grigoris Dimitriadis, who was forced out when the scandal broke, that it received research questions from what turned out to be a non-existent journalist.
“The whole operation resembled what in the world of cybercrime is called ‘spear phishing,” with the intention of deceiving and discrediting Reporters United,” it also added, noting that the questions include its confidential tax data “which are not public and therefore access to them could only be secured through the Taxis system and the AADE.”
It also claimed that it happened a few hours after two of its journalists “received a warning from a source very familiar with the wiretapping scandal, according to which people connected to a government institution are ‘looking for you’ and ‘preparing something,” but didn’t provide more details.
Reporters Without Borders European Union/Balkans Desk Head Pavol Szalai, whose group has criticized media freedom in Greece said that, “The investigation launched by the Greek tax authorities after the mobilization of the RSF must be properly conducted in order to arrest the perpetrators.”