Greek police discharge from service officers involved in surveillance scandal
Greek National Police discharged from service officers who were directly or indirectly involved in the surveillance scandal that has shaped the country’s political scene since last summer, local media reported on Thursday.
The move is expected to send a strong message that such controversies are a thing of the past, according to Greek daily Kathimerini.
Giorgos Gianninas and Giorgos Kanellos, who were discharged from the rank of lieutenant general, had served on critical positions, including the anti-terrorism department and the department that oversees the security of Attica region, which includes the capital of Athens and the port city of Piraeus.
The scandal stirred a political storm in Greece last summer when Thanasis Koukakis, a well-known financial journalist in Greece, reported that his cell phone had been tapped with Israeli-made Predator spyware.
Things escalated after Nikos Androulakis, the leader of the PASOK-KINAL opposition party and a member of the European Parliament, also revealed that he was targeted with Predator spyware, triggering a parliamentary probe on the matter.
Last August, Panagiotis Kontoleon, who then headed Greece’s National Intelligence Service (EYP), admitted before a committee of lawmakers that the agency was spying on Koukakis.
Days later, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis disclosed that Androulakis was also wiretapped but denied any knowledge of the operation.
Mitsotakis was left with no option but to force Kontoleon to resign as well as his top aide and nephew Grigoris Dimitriadis.
On Nov. 6, the Documento newspaper published a list of 33 people who were allegedly spied on by the EYP on Dimitriadis' direct orders.
They included Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, Deputy Defense Minister Nikolaos Chardalias, Development Minister Adonis Georgiadis, Labor Minister Kostis Hatzidakis, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras, former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, former Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis and former National Security Adviser Alexandros Diakopoulos.
A later report by the daily claimed that the EYP, which works directly under Mitsotakis, also wiretapped Chief of General Staff Konstantinos Floros, Chief of Land Forces Charalambos Lalousis and General Director of Defense Investments and Armaments Theodoros Lagios.
Opposition parties blame Mitsotakis for the scandal and have called for his government to hold snap elections, a measure he rejects.
The European Commission and European Parliament have also said they were closely monitoring developments related to the scandal.