February 8, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

The resignation of the Greek Foreign Ministry caused a scandal

Secretary General for International Economic Affairs and Openness Yannis Smirlis resigned from his post at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday.

The resignation sparked political controversy, with SYRIZA’s main opposition saying the ruling New Democracy was trying to cover up the wiretapping scandal.

In a letter to Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, Smirlis said he was resigning for “purely personal reasons.” In his social media post, he added that he wanted to help New Democracy’s election campaign.

The resignation caused a political scandal: the main opposition party SYRIZA regarded it as an attempt by the ND to remove the now former general secretary for international economic relations and public relations from surveillance. Smirlis was directly accused by SYRIZA a few days ago because he was the head of the department, which, contrary to the official position, twice authorized the export of Predator malware to a third country, namely Madagascar, in November 2021, the newspaper recalls. Ethnos.

Some time after the news of Mr. Smirlis’s resignation became known, SYRIZA issued a scathing statement noting that the former secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is “the man of Kyriakos Mitsotakis” who did the “dirty work” and there is an attempt by the government ” run away” when in fact he can’t even be elected as a Member of Parliament.

According to recent reports, Smirlees was responsible for authorizing the sale of Predator spyware to Madagascar, a country with a history of suppression of dissent, and two other African countries. Kathimerini. Former Minister of SYRIZA Pavlos Polakis published a few days ago the documentswhich he claims proves this export, even though the government has been claiming for months that the Greek state has nothing to do with the companies that make or sell the software in question.

The Foreign Office had already launched an internal investigation earlier, following relevant reports from the New York Times and Kathimerini. In response to a question from Cathimerini, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that the General Secretariat for Economic Diplomacy and Transparency is responsible for issuing such export licenses, adding that it “issued two export permits to Intellexa SA on November 15, 2021.”



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