Greek PM slams wire-tapping claims as 'incredible lie'

Greece's prime minister on Monday said reports he wire-tapped his own ministers were "an incredible lie" as the main opposition party threatened to mount a no-confidence motion over the snowballing scandal.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis's conservative government came under increased pressure after a bombshell media report at the weekend alleged that more than 30 politicians, journalists and business executives had been targeted by state surveillance.

The Supreme Court has ordered an investigation, while Syriza, the far-left party of former prime minister Alexis Tsipras, demanded the government to shed light on the affair before the next election due in 2023.

Mitsotakis hit back on Monday, calling the report by left-wing weekly newspaper Documento, which is close to Syriza, "shameful".

"We have a publication revealing a series of people allegedly under surveillance without the faintest proof that that was actually happening," he told private channel Antena1.

"I have never claimed there wasn't any surveillance. It's another thing to accuse the prime minister of orchestrating this action," he added, calling the accusations "shameful" and "unacceptable".

Documento reported on Saturday that the mobile phones of 33 high profile public figures had been targeted illegally by spyware known as Predator and technology employed by state intelligence agency EYP.

The list of reported targets includes former premier Antonis Samaras, several serving cabinet ministers and shipping magnate Vangelis Marinakis, the owner of Olympiakos and Nottingham Forest football clubs.

Influential members of Mitsotakis's conservative New Democracy party, who are potential rivals in any future leadership contest, were also allegedly wiretapped.

- 'All options on the table' -

Syriza said it was considering tabling a motion of no-confidence.

"All options are now on the table. We will use them at an opportune moment," Syriza said.

The spokesman for the government, which has a comfortable majority in parliament, said there were "no elements of proof" to support Documento's revelations.

The scandal broke in July when Nikos Androulakis -- an MEP and leader of the Socialist party (PASOK) -- filed a complaint over alleged attempts to tap his mobile phone using Predator spyware.

Within days, it emerged that Androulakis was kept under surveillance separately by the national spy agency before he became leader of PASOK, the country's third largest party.

Two journalists and another senior opposition politician also claim to have been spied on.

The scandal forced the resignations in August of the intelligence agency boss, and of a close aide and nephew to the prime minister.

The government has flatly denied using illegal surveillance software. But it has admitted the state intelligence service monitored Androulakis, without saying why.

Mitsotakis has pledged to bring in a law banning the sale of malevolent spyware.

But critics note that one of his first acts when he became prime minister in 2019 was to attach the national intelligence service to his personal office.

On Friday, a European Parliament committee investigating wiretaps in Greece and other European Union states called for a more thorough investigation.

Its preliminary report is due out on Tuesday.

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