Former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was spied on by a "parastatal mechanism" to undermine his chances of reelection, say local media
Surveillance has been used to shape domestic politics in Greece, according to local media outlets.
The Efysn news outlet said on Sunday that former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who is currently the leader of Greece’s main opposition SYRIZA-PS party, was monitored by a “parastatal mechanism” during his tenure from 2015-2019.
The mechanism obtained photos of Tsipras’ vacation in a yacht during the wildfires of 2018 and passed them on to Nea Dimokratia (ND), which was the opposition party and is the current ruling party.
The images were published by pro-ND media on the eve of the 2019 elections to undermine Tsipras’ chances of being reelected, it added.
The leadership race for ND in 2016 was also meddled in to elect Kyriakos Mitsotakis as the party’s head, according to Efsyn.
The election results were altered in favor of Mitsotakis, it added.
READ MORE: Greece's wiretapping scandal puts rights at risk: Human Rights Watch
The To Vima newspaper maintained that Israeli-made Predator spyware was used not only by the National Intelligence Service (EYP) but also by elements of the Greek police in illegal surveillance of an ever-growing list of people including prominent pro-government journalists, opposition figures, businessmen, acting and former senior ministers and retired admirals.
Meanwhile, Kostas Vaxevanis, an investigative journalist and chief editor of the Documento newspaper, which in early November published a list of 33 people who were spied on, including Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, said on Twitter that “foreign agents” were involved in the surveillance of Tsipras for the sake of Mitsotakis.
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Growing surveillance scandal
On August 8, Mitsotakis acknowledged that opposition politician Nikos Androulakis was wiretapped by Greece’s intelligence agency but denied knowledge of the operation.
The scandal first emerged on August 4 when Panagiotis Kontoleon, then-head of the EYP, told a parliamentary committee that the intelligence agency had been spying on financial journalist Thanasis Koukakis.
On August 5, Kontoleon, along with the general secretary of the prime minister’s office, Grigoris Dimitriadis, resigned.
READ MORE: European Commission 'very closely' monitoring Greece wiretapping scandal
A parliamentary probe was launched after Androulakis complained to top prosecutors about an attempt to hack his cellphone with Predator spyware.
More recently, Documento published a list of 33 people allegedly spied on by the EYP on direct orders by Dimitriadis, including Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, Deputy Defense Minister Nikos Hardalias, 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.
Opposition parties have been blaming Mitsotakis for the scandal and have called for his government to hold snap elections, something he rejects.
The European Commission and European Parliament are monitoring developments related to the scandal.
READ MORE: Greek PM Mitsotakis fully responsible for surveillance scandal: opposition