A Spanish private security firm, which is under investigation in Madrid, spied on Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on behalf of the CIA while he was inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, the Spanish daily El Pais reported Friday.
Citing unspecified documents and statements, the paper said Undercover Global Ltd, which was responsible for security at the embassy while Assange was staying there, sent the U.S. intelligence service audio and video files of meetings he had with his lawyers.
The reports were allegedly handed over by David Morales, who owns the company and is currently being investigated by Spain’s National Court, the paper said.
One of Assange’s lawyers confirmed the National Court was looking into the matter.
“There is a criminal case under investigation at the National Court but it is being conducted in secret … and we cannot say anything about what is being investigated beyond what has been leaked” to the press, Aitor Martinez revealed.
The leak “probably came from employees at the firm”, he said.
According to El Pais, Undercover Global installed microphones in the embassy’s fire extinguishers as well as in the women’s toilets where Assange’s lawyers used to meet for fear of being spied on.
It said the company also installed a streaming system so the recordings could be directly accessed by U.S. officials, enabling them to spy on a meeting Assange had with Ecuador’s secret service chief Rommy Vallejo in December 2017.
At the time, they were planning to smuggle Assange out of the embassy and take him to another country by means of a diplomatic passport – but the plan never materialized.
At the end of April, Assange’s lawyers filed an extortion suit against a group of Spanish nationals who reportedly used videos and documents from inside the embassy.
El Pais also reported that former Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa hired Undercover Global Ltd for his personal protection when he moved to Belgium from Ecuador. The newspaper said he had no information that the service spied on Correa.
Credit: Merco Press, https://en.mercopress.com/2019/09/28/spanish-company-working-for-the-cia-spied-on-assange-inside-the-ecuadorian-embassy-in-london