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Arrest warrants issued for Israeli owners of companies linked to ‘spy van’

The ‘spy van’

Police have issued arrest warrants against two Israeli nationals and a third individual in connection with an investigation into the operation of a van able to carry out covert surveillance, reports said on Saturday.

Reports said the warrants concern Tal Dillian, whose company WiSpear owns the vehicle in question, and Shahak Avraham Avni, the owner of security-services provider NCIS. Neither of the two men is in Cyprus.

It was unclear who the third person is.

A police spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment.

The reports came a day after a Larnaca court released three WiSpear employees arrested by police in connection with the case.

The investigation into the affair started after Dillian, an ex-intelligence officer, gave an interview to Forbes essentially advertising his services, which included covert surveillance and eavesdropping.

During the interview, Larnaca-based Dillian exhibited the capabilities of a van that was decked out with gear capable of hacking smart phones and intercepting electronic communications within a one-kilometre radius.

The van has since been seized by police.

Avni, who also appears as the leader of the Jewish community in Cyprus, is the owner of CIS International Ltd, which is related to NCIS Intelligence & Security Services Ltd.

According to its website, NCIS was “registered in Cyprus by a group of former military and government officials, which includes partnerships with some of the strongest and most innovative defence and technology-oriented companies in the world.”

“Both NCIS and CIS have strong links with sources of high technology and are experts in the field of security and surveillance systems.”

NCIS says it offers “security solutions such as surveillance equipment, security guards patrol services, monitoring services and spy gadgets produced and sold by its experienced marketing and sales team. NCIS offers its customers tailor-made security solutions; from the installation of intruder detection systems to the production and use of sophisticated surveillance equipment.”

WiSpear and NCIS are housed in the same building in Larnaca.

The two men have accused the authorities of engaging in a witch-hunt. They have also accused main opposition Akel of anti-Semitism over the party’s insistence that the companies were involved in unlawful activities.

On Friday, a Larnaca court released three WiSpear employees, denying the police an eight-day remand request.

Their defence argued that the vehicle’s operation had been above board and revealed in court that each time it moved it was with the permission of the authorities.

In at least one case, apart from company employees, there was a senior officer from a particular branch of the police, the court heard.


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