Suicide may hold key

A former colleague of the software engineer from Vodafone who committed suicide told a prosecutor yesterday that the high-level technician almost certainly knew about the spy software when he allegedly killed himself. The Communications Privacy Protection Authority (ADAE), meanwhile, is to begin questioning Vodafone and Ericsson about how the spy software operated. The technology for Vodafone’s central software system was provided by the Swedish mobile phone company Ericsson. The watchdog is set to begin its probe today by questioning employees from Vodafone, including CEO Giorgos Koronias, about how the software which snooped on some 100 mobile phones was activated. Prosecutor Yiannis Diotis, who is investigating the alleged suicide of Costas Tsalikidis, a top software engineer at Vodafone, questioned a former colleague of Tsalikidis yesterday. Giorgos Constantinopoulos was in charge of communications security at the mobile telephony company until December 2004, when he resigned for personal reasons. The spy software began working in the summer of 2004 and was discovered on March 7 last year. Sources said Constantinopoulos told Diotis that he was sure Tsalikidis was in a position to know about the spy software and that his death is likely to have been connected to that discovery. Diotis is due to question Tsalikidis’s brother today as he attempts to find out more about what may have led the technician to commit suicide. Tsalikidis’s family are also expected to ask authorities to dig up his body so it can be re-examined by coroners. Diotis is also trying to obtain a copy of the last e-mail sent by Tsalikidis at 4.25 a.m. on March 9 last year, a few hours before he was found hanging in his apartment. The e-mail is believed to have contained technical details of a project he was working on and was sent to colleagues at Vodafone. Meanwhile, the Public Order Ministry yesterday denied a report by Kathimerini that a team called «OLAF» was formed before the Athens Olympics to monitor phones. The ministry said OLAF was working under the auspices of the European Anti-Fraud Office and was tackling financial crime. However, documents obtained by Kathimerini indicate that team was involved in phone tapping.

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