Home World INVESTIGATION. Pegasus: Arnaud Montebourg’s phone also infected

INVESTIGATION. Pegasus: Arnaud Montebourg’s phone also infected

 INVESTIGATION.  Pegasus: Arnaud Montebourg's phone also infected

The phone of Arnaud Montebourg, former minister for François Hollande’s five-year term and short-lived candidate for the 2022 presidential election, was also the subject of hacking attempts, according to information collected by “Mediapart” and the partners of the “Project Pegasus”, including the Cellule investigation de Radio France.

The list of French politicians targeted by the dreaded Pegasus spyware is growing. Technical analyzes recently carried out by the French police on the telephone of the former Minister of Productive Recovery indeed confirm that Arnaud Montebourg was also infected in September 2019 by the software marketed by NSO.

The client of the Israeli company notably used a flaw in the iMessage system of Apple phones. Thus, we find the trace of two e-mail accounts, identical to those which were used to try to spy on the Moroccan journalist Omar Radi, the French lawyer Joseph Breham who defends Sahrawi prisoners, the journalist of Mediapart Lenaïg Bredoux who had investigated the head of the Moroccan secret services, or another former French minister, François de Rugy. These “markers” of attacks or attempted attacks would be linked to Morocco according to our investigations.

What interest would Morocco have had in targeting Arnaud Montebourg, at a time when he had left the political scene to retrain in business? Is it because for several years he has chaired the board of directors of France Algeria, an association created to strengthen ties with the enemy brother of the kingdom of Mohammed VI? The former minister, contacted by the partners of the Pegasus Project, says “not having any explanations to give for this illegal surveillance. And even if I had some, I would be unable to understand them”, he adds. The former presidential candidate has taken legal action because he wants “know the sponsors of this high-tech industrial espionage.”

Through the voice of its French lawyer Olivier Baratelli, the Kingdom of Morocco, for its part, once again denies having “acquired, owned or used software marketed by NSO.” Asked about the case of a possible surveillance of Arnaud Montebourg, the NSO group responds to the consortium formed by Forbidden Stories what company “is not aware of the data and potential targets of its customers.”

The Israeli group has been in great difficulty since our revelations. In November 2021, US authorities blacklisted him for selling hacking tools to countries that used them to spy on US officials and journalists, among others. In mid-January 2022, the Israeli Ministry of Justice also promised a national investigation into allegations that the Pegasus software was used to spy on citizens of the State of Israel, including opponents of the former Prime Minister. Benjamin Netanyahu.

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