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Spanish court calls CEO of Israel's NSO to testify in spying case

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Israeli cyber firm NSO Group is seen at one of its branches in the Arava Desert, southern Israel

MADRID (Reuters) -Spain's High Court on Tuesday called the chief executive officer of Israel's software firm NSO Group to testify as a witness in a case opened over the use of its Pegasus software to spy on Spanish politicians.

Judge Jose Luis Calama will travel to Israel to question the CEO as part of a so-called rogatory commission to investigate the spying, the court said on Tuesday in a statement, without providing a date for the testimony.

The judge opened the investigation after the government said Pegasus software was used to spy on ministers, triggering a political crisis in Spain that led to the resignation of its spy chief Paz Esteban last month.

The government hasn't elaborated on the circumstances of the snooping on the ministers, including Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, Defence Minister Margarita Robles and Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska, or who was behind it.

The judge has also lifted the secrecy of the documents related to the case, the statement said, paving the way for the disclosure of some details kept confidential until now.

The court had already asked NSO to give information on some aspects of the Pegasus spyware, which was reportedly used in other parts of the world by authoritarian rulers to spy on opposition politicians and civil society activists.

"NSO operates under a strict legal framework, and is confident that this will be the result any government inquiry will reach," the company told Reuters in an email, without detailing whether its CEO Shalev Hulio will respond to the questions of the Spanish judge.

The High Court also called Parliamentary Affairs Minister Felix Bolanos to testify on July 5 as a witness and said the judge had already interviewed former Spanish spy chief Esteban.

(Reporting by Emma Pinedo, Christina Thykjaer, editing by Inti Landauro and Andrei Khalip)

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