Germany Charges Executives for Selling Spyware to Turkey

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 belonging to 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 centre of the probe

According to the prosecutors in southern Germany, the firm struck a deal worth over €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 with the ability to follow communications.

Prosecutors said the Finspy software was provided to a Turkish opposition movement in 2017 to download from a fraudulent website “under false pretences, in order to spy on them”.

The probe was sparked after four non-governmental organisations the Society for Civil Liberties, Reporters Without Borders, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and Netzpolitik.org. – all filed complaints.

This story was originally published on DW.