Cyprus Mail

Israeli owner of ‘spy van’ says he is targeted because of ethnicity

The van parked at the Police headquartes in Nicosia

The Israeli owner of a so-called spy van under investigation by the police suggested on Tuesday that certain circles in Cyprus were targeting him because of his ethnicity with the aim of destabilising relations between the two countries.

In a written statement, Tal Dillian, the CEO of WS Wispear Systems, denied once more that he had used the technology to carry out surveillance on the island and described the affair as a witch hunt.

Dillian said he was considering moving his business elsewhere.

“This kind of behaviour by Cypriot authorities will hurt the country appealing to any foreign investors and international companies, as no company can tolerate unstable business and legal environment, totally unprotected (against) rumours towards corporate activities,” the statement said. “Given the fact that our company is a Cypriot company, it is now very clear that the hostility, especially from certain political parties, is targeting our Israeli ethnicity and aims to destabilize the CyproIsraeli relations, something far more worrying that the already fragile business profile of the country.”

Police are currently investigating the matter while Attorney-general Costas Clerides has appointed an independent investigator to look into whether there were any privacy violations.

The van’s capabilities were advertised through an August report by Forbes, which was picked up by local media in mid-November.

This prompted the reaction of main opposition Akel, which demanded an explanation from the government over the presence of the vehicle and whether it had operated in Cyprus.

According to Forbes, the van can intercept WhatsApp messages, Facebook chats, calls, and all the contents of a smartphone. Cypriot law bans phone tapping while written communications can be intercepted under certain circumstances but only with a court order.

Dillian, an ex-Israeli intelligence officer, said the police were either stalling or lacked the necessary technical expertise to understand the essence of the investigation and conclude whether or not there had been any wrongdoing.

“I have found myself embedded into a vicious circle of ‘accusations,’ all of which are solely based on an interview given to an international medium! The interview has been altered and used to fuel rumours and innuendos about illegal activities, coming from unnamed sources and serving unclear motives,” Dillian said.

The statement said it appeared that the police were under extreme pressure by various parties, not involved in the investigation, “who are clueless as to the facts and evidence in place” to issue arrest warrants against company officials.

Such actions, it said, were legally unjustified and not be in line with the rule of law.

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