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Akel says it wants no whitewash of ‘spy van’ affair

The van parked at the Police headquartes in Nicosia

MAIN opposition Akel continued to hammer the government over the spy van issue on Thursday, as other parties complained over not being invited to a briefing by the president on Friday.

As police continued their investigation into the affair, Akel pledged it would do everything within its power to prevent a whitewash.

“The chief of police has already recognised that it is a very serious case,” Akel spokesman Stephanos Stephanou said. “There is no room for downplaying the matter, nor attempts to mislead, and certainly not a cover up.”

Stephanou said not only there were still numerous unanswered questions, but new ones emerged every day.

Police launched an investigation after an Israeli national, Tal Dilian, an ex-intelligence officer gave an interview to Forbes essentially advertising his services, which included covert surveillance and eavesdropping, among others.

The van has since been seized, while police are investigating potential violations of privacy.

The company said on Tuesday it had not carried out any operations in Cyprus and the equipment in the van was only activated for testing and demos, but only on devices owned by its people.

Akel reiterated that it was not yet known how and why the van was brought to Cyprus, how it went through customs, who were the clients using the services, and who were the targets.

It also wanted to know if any Cypriot outfits, like the police, had ever cooperated with the company and whether its claim that authorities knew of its operations were true.

“What relationship did the company have with decision-making centres, services, political forces or politicians?” Stephanou said.

The company, WiSpear, has denied having any links to any party or politician.

“Attempting a cover-up in such a serious case or if its left to be forgotten amid endless investigations will constitute a huge blow to the rule of law, the rights of citizens, and the functioning of democracy in our country,” the Akel spokesman said.

President Nicos Anastasiades is scheduled to meet Akel leader Andros Kyprianou on Friday morning to brief him on the matter.

Smaller parties complained that they were being left in the dark and demanded a broader meeting.

Citizen Alliance chairman Giorgos Lillikas said he expected the president to convene a meeting with all the parties to explain what was going on.

He suggested that by only inviting Akel, the president was trying to put an end to the public debate on the matter.

The government has said it invited only Akel because it was the party that raised the issue in the first place.

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Source: Cyprus News Agency