The head of Greece’s intelligence service has stepped down, the prime minister’s office said on Friday, following growing pressure on the government to shed light on the use of surveillance malware.
Resignations of Panagiotis Kontoleon, the Head of Greece’s National Intelligence Service (EYP) chief, and Grigoris Dimitriadis, the general secretary, were accepted by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, according to the official AMNA news agency. They resigned over a growing surveillance scandal involving a journalist and an opposition leader.
In a statement, the prime minister’s office said Kontoleon submitted his resignation “following wrong actions found in the process of legal connections.”
Last week, Kontoleon told the parliament’s Institutions and Transparency Committee that his agency was spying on journalist Thanasis Koukakis.
The committee’s closed-door hearing came after Nikos Androulakis, leader of the socialist opposition PASOK party, complained to top prosecutors about an attempt to hack his mobile phone with tracking software.
Government spokesman Giannis Oikonomou, however, had asserted that authorities do not use the spyware allegedly used in Koukakis’ tapping, and do not do business with companies that sell it.
Alexis Tsipras, leader of the main opposition SYRIZA-PS party, said Dimitriadis’ resignation is an admission of guilt, according to I Avgi newspaper.
He said the allegations do not absolve the prime minister and “at some point, he must give explanations to the Greek people. Because this is not a simple question, it is a question of democracy … it will not remain in the dark. Everything will come to light.”
Greek daily Proto Tema claimed Dimitriadis’ resignation aims to divert attention from the prime minister’s alleged involvement in the case.
The Efsyn news outlet on Thursday claimed Dimitriadis, who is also Mitsotakis’ nephew, had business transactions with companies selling Predator spyware, the software used to spy on Koukakis, who works for CNN.
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