[funsec] FW: Suicide mystery in Greek spy scandal
Richard M. Smith
rms at computerbytesman.com
Mon Feb 6 21:29:07 CST 2006
Suicide mystery in Greek spy scandal
Philip Pangalos, in Athens
THE suicide of a senior Vodafone employee in Athens last March is being
re-examined to see whether it has any connection with a phone-tapping
scandal in which the conversations of the Greek prime minister and other
leading officials were monitored during the months before and after the 2004
Illegal software installed in a "ghost program" at Vodafone Greece allowed
conversations to be recorded on about 100 mainly government mobiles until
March 2005, when the surveillance was uncovered.
The conversations of Kostas Karamanlis, the prime minister, and his wife
Natasa were taped. Other government figures targeted for eavesdropping
included Petros Molyviatis, the foreign minister, Spilios Spiliotopoulos,
the defence minister, and George Voulgarakis, the public order minister The
affair has provoked fevered speculation with American security agents being
widely blamed for the tapping. The Greek government has said four antennae
near the US embassy in Athens were used to transmit the conversations
To Vima, an Athens daily, also claimed yesterday that MI6 had secret
surveillance operations in the area, but security experts said the Americans
have more advanced and discreet equipment.
As part of the government's investigation into the scandal, the suicide of
Kostas Tsalikidis, 39, Vodafone Greece's head of network design, is being
re-examined by police.
Tsalikidis was found hanged in his Athens flat on the morning of March 9,
2005, two days after the ghost program had been discovered and shut down by
George Koronias, the Vodafone general manager, and a day before the prime
minister's office was informed.
At the time detectives found no suicide note. They are now examining the
dead man's laptop, which has been in police storage for the past year.
Vodafone issued a statement on Friday saying the death of its former
employee was unconnected with the phone tapping. However, Tsalikidis's
family and friends have said that he spoke of work-related pressures prior
to his death.
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