Greece’s main opposition leader said late Thursday that Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis is at the center of the ever-growing eavesdropping scandal.
“He did not come when we were discussing the finding of the inquiry, he hid from (European Parliament’s inquiry committee) PEGA, he hides from the parliament. Have you seen anyone innocent hiding? The culprits are hiding,” Alexis Tsipras said in an exclusive interview with broadcaster STAR.
“For four months Mr. Mitsotakis invokes confidentiality and does not give answers. So, he is guilty,” he argued.
Tsipras did not exclude the possibility of illegal surveillance during the SYRIZA-PS government he led from 2015 – 2019.
“However, here we have the operation of illegal spyware with a center that had interconnection with EYP (Greek National Intelligence Service) and the Maximos Mansion (Prime Minister’s Office),” he said.
Tsipras said if the prime minister did not know about the surveillance cases, as he claimed, he would accept he is inadequate to continue as prime minister.
“Our democracy experiences a severe breakdown,” he said, adding that the situation is not sustainable.
Government spokesperson Giannis Oikonomou responded to Tsipras’ remarks and asserted that the opposition leader has an obsession with the prime minister, according to public broadcaster ERT.
“Only in this way can it be explained that in A 33-minute interview he referred to the prime minister 22 times,” he said. “At the same time, he solemnly confirmed that he is identified with populism and lies.”
Earlier, the prime minister rejected as “science fiction,” the latest revelations by the Documento newspaper that claimed 33 prominent figures, including acting ministers, a former prime minister, pro-government journalists and businessmen were also surveilled.
“As we are heading towards the elections of 2023, I want to reiterate that this is not the time to roll the country’s political life back into the mire,” he said, and urged the country to say no to those who create “science fiction stories.”
The Documento reports said the subjects were illegally surveilled on direct orders of Grigoris Dimitriadis, a nephew and close aide of Mitsotakis.
Greek surveillance scandal
The spy scandal, dubbed the Greek Watergate, first exploded in August.
Panagiotis Kontoleon, then-head of the Greek National Intelligence Service (EYP), told a parliamentary committee on Aug. 4, that the EYP had been spying on Thanasis Koukakis, a well-known financial journalist.
Days later, Mitsotakis acknowledged that Nikos Androulakis, leader of the PASOK-KINAL opposition party and member of the European Parliament, was also wiretapped by Greek intelligence, but denied knowledge of the operation.
Opposition parties blame Mitsotakis for the scandal and have called for his government to hold snap elections, something he rejects.
The European Commission and European Parliament are closely monitoring developments related to the scandal.
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