Spanish intelligence revealed that the mobile phone of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Defense Minister Margarita Robles was infected with an Israeli spyware Pegasus.
According to the government, Sanchez’s cell phone became infected in May last year, and at least one data leak has occurred since then. The authorities did not say whether they considered any group suspected of espionage.
in April, The separatist movement in Catalonia, one of the regions of the country, has accused the Spanish government of spying on the mobile phones of the movement’s leaders. Using the same software, which can only be purchased by states or governments. Madrid denied.
“The interventions were illegal and external, which means that they were carried out by unofficial groups and without permission,” said the Minister of the Presidency of the Republic, Felix Bolanos.
The Audiencia Nacional, the highest level of Spanish justice, will investigate the case.
pressure from separatists
The announcement comes amid pressure on Spain’s socialist government to explain the leak of mobile phone data from about 60 people linked to the separatist movement in Catalonia, a region in northeastern Spain where part of the population supports independence from the Spanish state.
In the wake of the accusation by the separatists, one of Pedro Sanchez’s main allies in parliament, the Catalan left-wing separatist party ERC announced that it would stop supporting the government until Madrid takes action on the investigation.
The European Union is debating a ban on Israel’s Pegasus software, on the grounds that governments are misusing the software to spy on activists, journalists and politicians.
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