Germany charges executives for selling spyware to Turkey
May 22, 2023
Four former executives have been charged with illegally selling software to Turkey’s secret services so it could spy on the country’s opposition. The suspects are from the Munich-based FinFisher which develops spyware.
German authorities have filed charges against four suspects from a firm over allegations that they sold surveillance software to Turkey’s intelligence services, Munich prosecutors said on Monday.
Prosecutors say the suspects intentionally violated licensing requirements for dual-use goods by selling surveillance software to non-EU countries.
The accused — from the Bavarian-based FinFisher — have been charged with commercial violations of the German trade and payments act in three separate cases.
FinSpy software at the center of probe
According to the prosecutors in southern Germany, the firm struck a deal worth in excess of €5 million ($5.4 million) in 2015 to sell monitoring software to Ankara intelligence, along with training and support.
The spyware allows those who deploy it to acquire control of computers and smartphones, as well as follow communications.
Prosecutors said the Finspy software was provided to a Turkish opposition movement in 2017 to download from a fraudulent website “under false pretenses, in order to spy on them.”
The probe was sparked after four non-governmental organizations — the Society for Civil Liberties, Reporters Without Borders, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and Netzpolitik.org. — all filed complaints.
jsi/wd (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)