'Spies' tapped phones of Greek PM and his cabinet

UNKNOWN eavesdroppers tapped the mobile phones of Costas Karamanlis, the Greek prime minister, five cabinet members and dozens of top officials for about a year, the government said yesterday.

Illegal software was installed at Vodafone Greece, allowing the recording of about 100 phones, mainly belonging to the government but also one owned by the United States embassy in Athens.

"The phones tapped included the prime minister's, the whole leadership of the defence ministry, the whole leadership of the public order ministry and some foreign ministry phones," a government spokesman said.

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A judicial investigation would look into possible charges of espionage, he added.