Prosecutor to investigate alleged surveillance of Greek journalist

Prosecutor to investigate alleged surveillance of Greek journalist

The head of the Athens Prosecutor’s Office, Sotiria Papageorgopoulou, ordered on Monday a preliminary investigation into the alleged surveillance of a Greek journalist.

The prosecutor tasked with the inquiry will seek to determine whether there has been a breach of telecommunications secrecy and, if yes, by whom. 

The action comes after investigative news outlet Inside Story (IS)revealed that Thanasis Koukakis, a financial editor for CNN Greece and a regular contributor for local and international outlets, discovered that his mobile phone had been hacked by spyware Predator, from July 12 to September 24, 2021. The spyware was developed by Cytrox, a company in North Macedonia.

The journalist was informed of the hacking after requesting the assistance of the digital rights group Citizen Lab, based in the University of Toronto, in late March. Citizen Lab added that it could not confirm whether the spyware was used by the Greek government or a private company, according to the IS report.

During the time of the surveillance, Koukakis was covering topics relating to alleged money laundering and corruption in the banking sector.

In a separate news report a few days later, investigative outlet Reporters United (RU) alleged it had seen documents showing that Koukakis was also under surveillance by Greek state intelligence service EYP a year before the phone hack by Predator. 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 abruptly on August 12.

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