ATHENS – A company based in Athens that had been licensed to sell Predator spyware sent a “warning letter” to a European Parliament committee investigating the use of the software in the bloc, challenging its authority.
A lawyer for the firm sent it to the head of the so-called PEGA committee that was set up to look into the use of Pegasus spyware and has expanded its scope, including a visit to Greece where it was brushed off by the New Democracy government.’
The letter, said EURACTIV, questioned the legality of the committee’s looking into Predator that infected the phone of an investigative journalist and was sent to the phone of a Greek Member of the European Parliament, Nikos Androulakis, leader of Greece’s PASOK-KINAL center left party.
Androulakis didn’t open an attachment that would have allowed the spyware to open his phone, and discovered the attack after sending it to an analytical lab at the Parliament, which revealed it.
His phone was also bugged by Greece’s spy service, the National Intelligence Service EYP but Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he didn’t know nor would have allowed it and denied his government is using Predator.
aim to shed light on the company’s activities.
The letter was sent sent to a Dutch MEP heading the panel, Jeroen Lenaers who told the news site that he found it “threatening,” and was angry about the attempt to shut down its investigation.
“The purpose of this notice is to inform you that recently, I have been asked by Intellexa S.A. to examine certain aspects of the legality and merits of the actions taken by the PEGA Committee about the Company,” the letter reads.
“The Company is in the process of assessing the proper course of action to address its contentions against the above actions and publication of the PEGA Committee (…) In this respect, I advise that within 21 days, my client will revert with its official position and/or contentions,” the letter added.
The EU has also seen a proliferation in Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) legal cases brought by governments and rich and powerful interests aimed largely at journalists and media outlets to bury them with legal costs as a way of silencing their reporting.
In its recent report about the scandal, the PEGA committee had concluded that Greece-based Intellexa companies exported their products to Bangladesh, Sudan, Madagascar and at least one Arab country.
“It is unknown if export licenses were granted to export spyware to all of these countries (…) but the Greek government has admitted to granting export licenses to Intellexa to sell Predator spyware to oppressive governments,” the report said.
A Greek MEP from the major opposition SYRIZA, former journalist Stelios Kouloglou, noted that that Intellexa, which previously refused to meet with the PEGA committee, took such an ominous step with elections coming in Greece.
He also said that Intellexa “is trying to stop the criticism that is expressed at the highest level and to influence the content and the voting of the Reports that they expect to be a catapult for the political responsibilities and the institutional diversion of the Greek government.”
“Intellexa, which was protected by the government in every way, completely confirms the view that it returns support and serves the government’s election planning and the cover-up of the wiretapping scandal,” he also added.