Magistrate lifts lid on Karamanlis wiretaps

An American secret agent was responsible for setting up a wiretapping system to eavesdrop on top Greek government officials during and after the Athens Olympics, according to an investigation carried out by anti-corruption magistrate Dimitris Foukas.

The judge delivered his findings on Friday and identified the American as William B, an agent who left Greece when the wiretaps were discovered and whose whereabouts are not known. According to Foukas’s report, the agent’s wife used a fake ID card to buy the prepaid mobile phones that were used to shadow officials’ phones, allowing conversations to be recorded.

Then Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and more than 100 others were among those spied on, according to Greek authorities who were informed about the eavesdropping system by Vodafone in March 2005.

Foukas also investigated an alleged plot to assassinate Karamanlis and found that there was evidence to suggest that persons unknown had targeted the premier because of his attempts to pursue closer relations with Russia.

The magistrate referred to diplomatic cables published by Wikileaks as underlining Washington’s unhappiness with the Greek government’s approach. Plans for a pipeline between Burgas in Bulgaria and Alexandroupoli in Greece to carry Russian oil were eventually abandoned.