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14 July, 2024
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Attorney general okays spy van warrants

Reports of international warrants issued as Cyprus police try to reel in former Israeli intelligence officer


The CEO of WiSpear says he is open to talking to Cypriot police, while investigators insist on reeling him in after the attorney general reportedly gave the okay for the arrest warrants of three Israeli nationals in the spy van case.

According to Philenews, arrest warrants have been issued for three Israelis, including WiSpear CEO Tal Dilian, who was wanted for questioning in connection with privacy law violations outside Larnaca International Airport.

Knews could not confirm Wednesday whether arrest warrants had been issued, while reports said Attorney General Costas Clerides gave the okay for police prosecutors to seek arrest warrants on Dilian, as well as Avraham Shahak Avni, the head of another Cypriot security company, and a third individual purportedly having ties to both suspects.

Local media previously reported on unconfirmed reports that Dilian had been negotiating with police the terms under which he would give a deposition, with the former Israeli intelligence officer insisting on coming back to Cyprus on the condition he would not be arrested and police investigators insisting he would have to be detained for questioning.

If international warrants have been issued and the Israeli suspects travel to other countries, the warrants were likely to remain active

Previous reports of arrest warrants in Cyprus for the three Israeli suspects were unconfirmed by Knews, while police on Wednesday neither confirmed nor denied local or international arrest warrants. Other reports said if the suspects travel to other countries, arrest warrants were likely to be active.

Philenews further reported that international arrest warrants in the case were not meant to be used for extradition, as the suspects were believed to be back in Israel where citizens of that state, by law, cannot be extradited to any other country.

Last month, three local suspects linked to the case were detained and later released. A local court rejected police prosecutors’ remand requests for the Greek Cypriots, two males and one female, after defence lawyers questioned the merits of the arrest warrants.

But during the remand hearing of the three local WiSpear employees, prosecutors also submitted a 29-page document which reportedly included references to a list of over a million email addresses. The data was said to have been discovered during an investigation on equipment installed in the spy van, which was confiscated last month.

The case, dubbed “spy van” which refers to the high-tech surveillance vehicle known as the SpearHead 360, gained traction after allegations against Cypriot-registered Israeli firms pointed to accusations of spying on local citizens.

The allegations emerged after a summer interview with Forbes magazine along with a video shot in Larnaca, was picked up by local media in Cyprus when politicians raised questions over possible unlawful surveillance activities including spying on political parties or on behalf of politicians.

Local media said thousands of email addresses were collected from the van but it had not been clear at the time whether the data was scooped up in violation of privacy laws.

In a previous statement outside of court, WiSpear said it was on the receiving end of multiple attacks by “many parties unable to understand and evaluate our work."

According to experts, the spy van in question can hack into both Apple and Android devices from half a kilometre away but it could not gain access to any devices that were not connected to a Wi-Fi network.

Prosecutors said they found evidence of “Wi-Fi scanning” while at least one Wi-Fi antenna was installed across from the Departure Terminal at LCA.

WiSpear denies any wrongdoing, insisting that the Wi-Fi installations were part of a subcontract with Hermes, the company managing the airport, while also pointing out that similar equipment was being used in many developed countries including Japan and America.

Cyprus  |  spy van  |  Dilian  |  privacy laws  |  hacking  |  Israeli  |  WiSpear  |  police  |  Larnaca  |  Forbes  |  surveillance

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