The draft decision of the PEGA Committee of the European Parliament to investigate the use of the Pegasus software and corresponding spy tracking software, which was voted today in the European Parliament, leaves Greece open to the possibility of imposing sanctions.
Unsparingly critical, the PEGA report writes of "a very disturbing story of a complex and opaque web of relationships, political and business interests, favors and nepotism, and political influence," highlighting that "spyware... is used as a tool of political power and control in the hands of the country's top political leadership', which has weakened control mechanisms to make it easier to illegally monitor and intimidate those who criticize or fight corruption and fraud.
In fact, the draft decision puts the Greek government in the spotlight, writing that since it denies the purchase of the Predator84 spyware, then it should have ordered a police investigation of the crime under Greek law of the (attempted) hacking of Koukakis and Androulakis' phones by a non-state body something that has not happened to date, as only prosecutorial investigations are conducted following complaints.
At the center is the Greek government
Further noting the close connections and interdependencies between certain persons and events related to the government, the EPA and spyware providers, in particular Krikel, a preferred supplier of communications and surveillance equipment to, among others, the police and the EPA, PEGA underlines that Krikel is closely connected with people from the environment of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Yiannis Lavranos allegedly owns 50% of Krikel, through another company called Mexal91, writes the draft decision, for the man who has been revealed since the scandal broke to be trading in security systems and doing business with the Ministry of Citizen Protection.
The PEGA Commission concludes that violations and maladministration have occurred in Greece in the implementation of Union law and proposes ten measures, including the participation of Europol in the investigations.
The 10 meters requested by PEGA
Specifically, the PEGA Committee calls on Greece to proceed with the following actions:
- Urgently restore and strengthen institutional and legal safeguards, including effective ex-ante and ex-post controls, as well as independent oversight mechanisms.
- Urgently revoke all export licenses that do not fully comply with the dual-use regulation and investigate allegations of illegal exports, including to Sudan.
- To ensure that authorities can freely and unhindered investigate all complaints about the use of spyware.
- To urgently withdraw the amendment 826/145 of the law 2472/1997, which abolished the possibility of AADE to inform the citizens about the lifting of the confidentiality of communications.
- Restore the full independence of the judiciary and all competent supervisory bodies, such as the Ombudsman and data protection authorities, to ensure full cooperation and access to information by all supervisory bodies and the provision of full information to all victims.
- To reverse the 2019 legislative amendment that placed the EYP under the direct control of the prime minister.
- Urgently implement the directive on public interest witnesses.
- To ensure the independence of the leadership of the National Transparency Authority (NDA).
- To immediately launch a police investigation into alleged spyware abuse and seize physical evidence of proxies, brokerage firms, and spyware vendors linked to spyware infections.
- To invite Europol to join the investigations immediately.
The entire draft decision of the Pega Commission of Inquiry on the use of Pegasus software and corresponding spyware monitoring software can be read at the following link