Ex-minister to answer charges on state secrets as part of judicial probe

An ex-minister has been called to give evidence in a judicial investigation into a wiretapping case first uncovered in 2005, after a top-secret document was found at his home.

Michalis Karchimakis, who was deputy minister for agricultural development and food between 2009 and 2012, was accused by an officer from Greece’s National Intelligence Service (EYP) of asking for top-secret documents to be given to him in 2006. This prompted magistrate Dimitris Foukas to oversee a search of Karchimakis’s house, where a secret document was discovered.

The ex-minister now faces charges of breaching the state secrets law. Karchimakis is due to appear before the magistrate on November 8.

Foukas is investigating the circumstances surrounding a wiretapping system that helped unidentified eavesdroppers listen in on the mobile phone conversations of then Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and more than 100 others before, during and after the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Ericsson, which supplied the telephone exchange that was hacked into, and Vodafone, which was the service provider, were both fined by the Hellenic Authority of Communications Security and Privacy (ADAE) in 2007 for failing to protect the privacy of those who had their phones hacked, which included the head of EYP, several ministers and members of the armed forces.

The wiretaps were discovered by Ericsson on March 7, 2005 and Vodafone immediately asked for the software to be deactivated. Investigating authorities said that this decision prevented them from discovering who was recording the conversations, although EYP said the source of the eavesdropping was somewhere in central Athens.

Sources said that Foukas’s investigation has also uncovered the alleged involvement of a foreign national in the wiretaps and that judicial authorities are now trying to track down the suspect.

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