Greek PM takes heat over phone tapping scandal, defends spy service's work

·1-min read

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis told parliament on Friday the phone tapping of an opposition leader by the EYP intelligence service was wrong, but did not disclose the reason behind it.

He said the phone tapping of Nikos Androulakis, leader of the socialist opposition PASOK party, was a legal but "politically unacceptable" operation.

"When I found out I did not hesitate to say it was wrong," Mitsotakis said. "But any initiative to remedy the slip-up should not undermine EYP's important work."

The scandal over wiretapping of Androulakis and a financial journalist has turned up the heat on the conservative prime minister, who brought EYP under his direct control when he took office three years ago.

Androulakis, who was elected PASOK leader in December 2021, has said that EYP listened to his conversations in late 2021.

Earlier this month Mitsotakis sacked the chief of EYP and his chief of staff over the surveillance scandal, appointing a veteran diplomat to run the service.

The leader of leftist SYRIZA, the main political opposition, called on Mitsotakis to reveal the reason behind the tapping of Androulakis's phone.

"What were the national security reasons? Is he a foreign agent, a spy? Your refusal to tell the truth is in itself an answer," Alexis Tsipras said.

He called on Mitsotakis to resign and call an early election. The government's term ends in the summer of 2023.

(Reporting by George Georgiopoulos; Editing by Alex Richardson)