Vodafone to face wiretap suit

The family of the Vodafone software engineer who was at the center of the phone-tapping scandal will take civil action against the mobile-phone provider after prosecutors found that Costas Tsalikidis committed suicide, lawyer Themistoklis Sofos told Kathimerini yesterday. Sofos said that Tsalikidis’s family is unhappy that an investigation by prosecutor Yiannis Diotis concluded in June that the engineer hanged himself in March 2005. The verdict was upheld by an appeals prosecutor earlier this month. «There are indications that Costas was dead before he was hanged,» Sofos told Kathimerini. He said the family asked in vain for Tsalikidis’s body to be exhumed and for an independent coroner and forensic scientists to be appointed. Prosecutors concluded that Tsalikidis’s suicide was linked to the uncovering of a system which was set up before the Athens Olympics in 2004 to eavesdrop on some 100 mobile phones, including those of the prime minister and high-ranking government officials. Investigations have not yet revealed who was behind the wiretaps. Sofos believes that Tsalikidis found the spy software by chance and reported the matter. He was then admonished by superiors at Vodafone and decided to resign, according to the lawyer. «Some people were afraid that he would talk so they killed him in a professional manner,» Sofos added. «There is evidence that Vodafone executives from abroad visited the company’s offices in Greece five days before Tsalikidis died and blamed his superiors as well as Costas for the wiretaps,» the lawyer said. According to Sofos, Tsalikidis’s family plans to appeal to the European Court of Justice as well as pursue Vodafone in the civil courts.