Greek spying latest

PREDATORGATE LATEST: Details of the spying scandal that has engulfed Greek politics and rocked the government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis are continuing to emerge, with journalist Thanasis Koukakis, whose phone was bugged, due to brief a Supreme Court prosecutor today.

Recap: The controversy over the bugging with Predator spyware of the mobile phones of Greek PASOK leader Nikos Androulakis, who is also an MEP, as well as two journalists, burst into the open earlier this month. The scandal led to the resignations of the country’s intelligence services director and the PM’s chief of staff — the latter of whom is also Mitsotakis’ nephew.

And there’s more: Greek publication Kathimerini over the weekend reported that the country’s National Intelligence Service (EYP) had used Predator in the past, citing police sources. So far, the government has vehemently denied the purchase or use of the spyware, but the newspaper said the EYP had been spying on seven or eight other politicians, our colleague Nektaria Stamouli writes in to report.

Pointing fingers: “The functioning of the constitution has taken a severe blow and the PM must rise to the occasion,” said ruling New Democracy MP Konstantinos Tzavaras, who also branded Greek media a “disgrace” for not covering the scandal more.

METSOLA URGED TO ACT: Calls are growing for European Parliament President Roberta Metsola to make a statement. (Reminder: Androulakis, who is an MEP as well as the head of his party, learned of the surveillance after he used a service set up by the European Parliament to check if phones were being monitored in the wake of the Pegasus scandal.)

S&D call: Iratxe García Pérez, head of the S&D group in the Parliament, has written to Metsola calling for an urgent response, noting that the European Commission has already written to the Greek authorities looking for answers — while the Parliament has not.

Staying silent: “I need not remind you that a national intelligence service illegally tapping the phone of an opposition leader as well as an elected Member of this house constitutes a breach of the rule of law and an extremely serious violation of the Treaties and our principles of democracy,” says the letter, seen by Playbook. “The Commission has already asked for a thorough investigation, but I regret that the President of the European Parliament still remains silent.”

One to watch: The S&D is set to push for a debate on the scandal to be added to next month’s Parliament plenary session.

GRIM REMINDER: Greece was the lowest-ranked EU country for press freedom in the annual World Press Freedom Index released in May — ICYMI, Nektaria had a great piece on how it got there.


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