Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

‘No proof that surveillance van was used  to spy on citizens’  

The van at the centre of the case

Almost two years later, reports said Friday no proof has been found that a van with covert surveillance capabilities had been used to spy on people, but four people involved in the cases, including two Israeli nationals, will be facing lesser charges relating to personal data violations and offences relating to its importation into the country.

Police launched an investigation in November 2019 after the owner of the company gave an interview to Forbes essentially advertising his services, which included covert surveillance and eavesdropping, among others.

The vehicle, a converted GMC ambulance, is said to be loaded with gear capable of hacking smart phones and intercepting electronic communications within a one-kilometre radius.

Citing unnamed sources, daily Politis reported on Friday that the attorney-general had decided to prosecute four people connected to two Israeli companies based in Larnaca, Tal Dillian, a former intelligence officer, Avni Sahak, and two employees.

The paper said no evidence had been found that the van had been used to spy on citizens but there was proof of violation of personal data and offences relating to the importation of the equipment, which had been declared as weather instruments.

Politis said the four faced around 80 charges which were not considered especially serious to justify heavy penalties in the event of conviction.

The owners claimed the van has not been active on Cypriot territory apart from field tests and demonstration purposes using only company-owned devices and under the guidelines and acknowledgement of local authorities.

The owner’s defence had said that the authorities were kept informed each time the van was moved and revealed that senior police officers, including from the drug squad, had been onboard at times.

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