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Greek Prosecutor Probing Alleged Spyware PhoneTracking of Journalist

ATHENS – Reports that an investigative journalist was being tracked through spyware on his mobile phone has led the head of the Athens Prosecutor’s Office, Sotiria Papageorgopoulou, to order a probe who was behind it.

She will try to determine if there was breach of telecommunications secrecy, said Kathimerini, after it was revealed that Predator spyware was used to surveil Thanasis Koukakis, a financial editor for CNN Greece and a regular contributor for local and international outlets,

The investigative news outlet Inside Story revealed that he discovered that his mobile phone had been hacked and the spyware installed from July 12-Sept. 2021.

The spyware was developed by Cytrox, a company in North Macedonia and it was reported that he found out about it after asking for assistance of the digital rights group Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto, in late March. Citizen Lab added that it could not confirm whether the spyware was used by Greece’s New Democracy government that’s been criticized by media freedom groups for trying to stifle reporters and minimize dissent.

During the time of the surveillance, Koukakis was covering topics relating to alleged money laundering and corruption in the banking sector, a dangerous practice in Greece, a year after the murder of investigative reporter Gioros Karaivaz, who was said looking into alleged police corruption and organized crime.

In a news report later, investigative outlet Reporters United (RU) claimed to have documents showing that Koukakis was also under surveillance by Greek state intelligence service EYP a year before the phone hack by Predator, no reason given.

According to the report, EYP had cited reasons of “national security” in the documents. RU said the surveillance started in June 1, 2020 and ended Aug. 12.

EYP reports to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, whose government has been repeatedly ripped by a coalition of media freedom groups for trying to control the narrative of what’s reported, which his administration denied.

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