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In Spain, the court demanded information from the intelligence service whether it was following Catalan politicians
The scandal erupted last year when dozens of pro-independence politicians in Catalonia claimed to have been victims of digital espionage by Madrid. The official authorities did not react to the accusations in any way, and after a while another scandal erupted. As it turned out, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Defense Minister Margarita Robles themselves became victims of hackers, their mobile devices were hacked using the Pegasus program. Suspicions fell on Rabat, with which Madrid's relations had deteriorated earlier, but evidence could not be collected. In the meantime, everyone was discussing this topic, the court refused to initiate a case of surveillance of Catalan politicians. In response, MEP Diana Riba and Spanish MEP Josep Maria Jove, representing the Republican Left of Catalonia, filed an appeal, and it was granted on Monday.
In connection with the reopened case, the court asked the National Intelligence Center for information on whether the service used the same Pegasus program to spy on Catalan politicians, and also to explain in general why this software was purchased. The court also requested data about it from the Israeli company NSO Group, which developed it, but there is practically no chance of getting an answer. Previously, all such requests were ignored by the developer company.
But the court expects to get at least confirmation of the very fact of using spyware from the director of the secret service, Esperanza Castelleiro, and whether this was done in accordance with the established procedure, that is, with the sanction of the court. All other data is classified, notes El Mundo.
Did Israel follow the Catalan politicians?
In December, we reported on the details of the Pegasus hacking of the mobile phones of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and the Ministers of Defense and the Interior of the Iberian Kingdom, Margherita Robles and Fernando Grande-Marlaschi, with the help of the Pegasus program. According to El Confidencial, the investigation cannot get off the ground because of Israel's silence.
Tel Aviv ignored all requests from the Spanish court (and there were three of them in the last seven months), and also did not give the green light to the arrival of a team of Spanish investigators in Israel to take evidence from the CEO of the NSO Group, which developed the very program Pegasus. However, the requests of the Barcelona court, where a similar case is being considered - about espionage of representatives of the Catalan authorities by the Spanish special services, remained unanswered in the same way.
It is worth noting that in the Catalan case, requests were also sent to Luxembourg, where another company, OSY Technologies, is based, associated with an Israeli software developer. However, the National Court of Spain refused to go down this path until they received at least some answer from Israel.
Rabat is believed to have been behind the hacking of Sanchez, Robles and Grande-Marlaschi's cell phones. At the time when their devices were being hacked, relations between Spain and Morocco were tense. However, it is impossible to prove this without cooperation with Israel, which has never helped in investigations when similar scandals arose in other countries.