The Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) on July 18 seized equipment that was illegally used for tapping opposition leaders' and activists' phones during the so-called Revolution of Dignity in February 2014, the SBU press center reported on Monday morning, citing a report made by Vasyl Hrytsak, the head of SBU, to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.
"During a special operation in Kiev, SBU detained a group of people led by an official from the Central Department of SBU, a lieutenant-colonel, who engaged in illegal phone-tapping. Modern equipment for getting information via mobile communication channels (GSM) was seized from the criminals. According to the information, the systems were smuggled into Ukraine. Information on the possible participation by former SBU chief Yakimenko who is suspected of bringing the special equipment into Ukraine is also being checked," the report says.
SBU said there are no analogues of this special interception system in Ukraine and it was made by a firm registered in New Zealand.
SBU officials are conducting an investigation. A criminal case has been opened based on the article on "illegal acquisition, sale or use of special technical devices for intercepting information."
"The equipment has been sent for an evaluation, including to determine whose phones were tapped by the criminals both during the Revolution of Dignity and until the moment when the system was seized," the special service reported.
According to earlier reports, a system for illegal phone-tapping was seized by the SBU in Kiev on July 16. The equipment was made without issuing official documents at a Ukrainian enterprise. During the special operation, the equipment was seized and sent for forensic evaluation.
The third set of phone-tapping equipment that the SBU has seized in a week was found in the office of a Kyiv company on July 17. The equipment was seized and sent for an evaluation.
This is the first time in five years SBU has received such results. "The service continues taking effective measures to protect citizens' rights and freedoms," Hrytsak said.
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