Cyprus has once again lost all credibility following the US sanctions against ex-Israeli intelligence officer Tal Dilian, Akel charged on Wednesday, calling on Christodoulides to take a stand on the matter.

Considering the president “takes every opportunity” to tell the public he has zero tolerance for corruption, “we expected that Christodoulides’ government would express its position,” the party said in a statement.

Akel made a dig at Christodoulides’ close ties with former President Nicos Anastasiades, saying the former served as the latter’s right-hand man for nine years, during which Dilian was investigated for his ‘spy van’ but the attorney general eventually dropped all charges against him.

The opposition party said it hand long warned Cyprus was a “hotbed of illegal software and surveillance of citizens, politicians, activists and journalists”.

It called on Christodoulides to answer as to why Dillian was “let off scot-free as a result of political interferences” which led to his criminal prosecution getting suspended.

Dilian first made headlines in 2019 in Cyprus, after the ‘spy van’ was showcased in a Forbes report. The former intelligence officer was essentially advertising his services, which included covert surveillance and eavesdropping.

Police began investigating but two years later the attorney-general dropped all charges against three individuals – including Dilian – who had been arrested in connection with the ‘spy van’.

Akel sought to remind that the European Parliament raised concerns over Cyprus’ “maladministration in the implementation of the EU Dual-Use Regulation” pointing out the need for close scrutiny on the matter.

It called on the president to come clean on his stance that “Dilian was left unpunished” during Anastasiades’ term, of which Christodoulides was a cabinet member.

Akel also asked Christodoulides to comment “on the fact that Cyprus, in this case again has lost its credibility, after it turned a blind eye and allowed the circulation, sale and export of illegal software to Greece and third countries.”

The party charged this was done with the knowledge of Anastasiades’ government “and to a very large degree, as a result of corruption.”

“Thirdly, why does the government continue to tolerate the production of dual-use software in Cyprus?” Akel questioned.

“Since the president cites transparency, he should be clear on this.”

A day earlier, the US Department of the Treasury said it was sanctioning Dilian and his associate Sara Aleksandra Fayssal Hamou “for their role in developing, operating, and distributing commercial spyware technology used to target Americans, including US government officials, journalists, and policy experts”.

It also sanctioned five entities: Intellexa SA, Intellexa Limited, Cytrox AD, Cytrox Holdings ZRT, and Thalestris Limited.