A Cypriot lawyer says she was targeted by undercover agents who were trying to fish for information to discredit her in a lawsuit against an Israeli software company.
According to foreign media reports, a number of individuals including Cypriot attorney Christiana Marcou were targeted by operatives who lured them into meetings in order to get information or coax them into making anti-Semitic remarks while being secretly recorded on video.
Marcou says she is handling a case in Cyprus brought by five plaintiffs from Mexico and Qatar who filed a lawsuit against two Cypriot companies. But the case implicates Israeli NSO Group, accused of one of its companies selling spy software to entities and governments who then spied on their own citizens.
According to reports, Marcou received an email invitation to participate in a conference on legal matters. She was first invited to London, where she met one of the organizers who later turned out to be an undercover operative.
The lawsuit in Cyprus implicates an Israeli company accused of selling spy software to governments that spy on their own citizens
The discussion started off on conference topics but later turned into questions on the case against the NSO company, with the man saying he had a “general interest” in the case. Some reports said questions included an inquiry into who was funding the lawsuit.
Marcou said she got wind of what was going on and either gave false or misleading answers or did not answer at all. A few days later, she appeared in a secretly-taped video on Israeli TV where she was shown during the meeting with the undercover agent.
Phileleftheros said the video was shown on TV to give the impression that the lawsuits were part of an effort to harm the reputation of Israel and the Israeli company.
The NSO company in question has also been targeted by Amnesty International, saying the firm sold its Pegasus spyware to governments with questionable human rights records.
The software can infect mobile phones, allowing other persons to record voice calls, remotely access the device's camera, see text messages, obtain GPS coordinates, and more. The software can be remotely installed onto any mobile device without the owner's knowledge.
NSO says it only does business with governments and law enforcement agencies. But critics say unlike other firms that deal with data security, the company sells offensive software and spyware that can be used unlawfully.