ATHENS – Greece’s Parliament will return early on Aug. 22 from a summer recess for what’s expected to be a fierce debate and likely investigation into the phonetapping of a political party leader and journalist, and use of spyware.
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said he was not informed by the National Intelligence Service (EYP) about the tapping of the phone of PASOK Socialist leader Nikos Androulakis and financial reporter Thanasis Koukakis.
But the Greek leader is on the hot seat after Androulakis demanded a probe and Koukakis testified to a high court prosecutor about how his phone was tapped and had Predator spyware installed.
Koukakis had unwittingly clicked on a text message that opened a link that infected his phone. Androulakis said he was sent a message but didn’t open it, preventing the spyware from taking over his phone.
The PASOK leader is also a Member of the European Parliament and said he never would have known about the spyware attempt if he hadn’t taken his phone to analysts there after he became worried about the use of spying tools.
It was only later that it was learned his phone had been tapped anyway, which former EYP chief Panagiotis Kontoleon admitted to a parliamentary committee, said Reuters, leading him to resign.
Mitsotakis’ former General-Secretary – his nephew – Grigoris Dimitriadis also quit after the Premier said he and Kontoleon kept him out of the loop about the phonetapping. Mitsotakis said was legal, but wrong to target a rival party chief.
The scandal broke at a propitious time for the government though – as most Greeks in August are away at their villages or islands and interest in news falls off with people at the beach and tourists pouring in.