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Dutch police used Israeli 'Pegasus' spyware to catch Kinahan associate Ridouan Taghi

The drugs kingpin was arrested in Dubai in 2019
Clodagh Meaney

Dutch police used controversial Israeli spyware to catch Kinahan associate Ridouan Taghi, reports have claimed.

The General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) in The Netherlands’ reportedly used the spyware known as Pegasus to hack the country’s most wanted criminal.

Volkskrant Daily have reported that the spyware was used to access the phone of the fugitive and alleged drug kingpin.

The Pegasus spyware can switch on a phone’s camera and or microphone to harvest data.

Sources told the Volkskrant publication that although the role of AIVD is not to trace criminals, they helped police to catch Taghi who was on the run until he was captured by police in Dubai in 2019.

The use of the controversial Pegasus spyware has been criticised by many, including Dutch lawmaker Pieter Omtzigt who said “[Spyware] is a more intrusive form of tapping than what you see in George Orwell’s book 1984.”

“I want to know the context in which it was used, against which type of people and how oversight was organised,” he told Volkskrant.

Pegasus spyware, developed in Israel, has become a huge source of controversy across the globe.

In May, it emerged that mobile phones belonging to Spain's prime minister and defence minister were infected by Pegasus spyware.

The spyware also came to public attention following the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2016, and is believed to be linked to other cases as well.

People hold posters of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul on the second anniversary of his death (Emrah Gurel/AP)

People hold posters of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul on the second anniversary of his death (Emrah Gurel/AP)

The Pegasus software has been used by countries including Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia and Azerbaijan

Taghi, who had previously been heavily involved with Daniel Kinahan, is currently being held in the Netherlands where he is one of 16 defendants in the Marengo trial in which they are accused of ordering six murders between 2015 and 2017.

In 2017, Taghi was a guest at Kinahan's lavish wedding at the seven-star Burj-Al-Arab hotel in Dubai, along with mobsters Ricardo Riquelme Vega, aka El Rico, caged assassin Naoufal Fassih and Italian Camorra boss Raffaele Imperiale.


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