For the time being there is no reason for the attorney-general’s office to become involved in the ongoing police probe into the Larnaca-based company providing surveillance services, AG Costas Clerides reiterated on Monday.
“Investigations are always the responsibility of the police, except in certain cases where there is reason to believe the police may lack the requisite wherewithal ensuring their investigation is impartial or independent,” Clerides told reporters.
In this particular case, and having been briefed by the police chief last week, Clerides said he sees no reason for the attorney-general’s office to get involved at this stage.
Absent any indications that the police probe may in any way be compromised, there would be no point in the attorney-general intervening.
In some cases, the attorney-general may appoint special criminal investigators to assist in a police probe.
Should the police need guidance on legal matters relating to the investigation, that will be provided, Clerides added.
He was alluding to media reports – so far unconfirmed – that the company under investigation, Ws Wispear, may have provided its equipment and services to the police, among others.
If that were true, it would raise issues of impartiality on the part of the police.
It’s understood the CEO of the company, Israeli national Tal Dilian, is still abroad.
Sources tell the Cyprus Mail that Dilian may be the person who holds the keys, as it were, to providing access to the company’s encrypted servers.
Police IT forensics specialists are currently inspecting the company’s computers. Authorities have meantime seized a van said to be loaded with gear capable of hacking smart phones and intercepting electronic communications within a one-kilometre radius.
Dilian is an ex-commander in the Special Operations Unit of the Intelligence Corps in the Israeli Defence Force, the equivalent of the US’ National Security Agency (NSA).
Phone tapping is illegal in Cyprus though written communications can be intercepted under certain circumstances – but only with a court order.
Clerides was in parliament to discuss the Law Office’s budget for 2020.
He told lawmakers that within the coming days his office would be filing criminal charges against banks for unfair terms of contract.