German prosecutors charge four over violating trade act to sell spyware to Turkey

German authorities have filed charges against four suspects from a Bavarian company accused of selling surveillance software to Turkey that could be used to spy on Turkish dissidents

BERLIN — German authorities have filed charges against four suspects from a Bavarian company accused of selling surveillance software to Turkey that could be used to spy on Turkish dissidents, prosecutors said Monday.

The Munich prosecutors say the defendants intentionally violated licensing requirements for dual-use goods by selling surveillance software to non-EU countries.

Specifically, the four suspects from the FinFisher company are charged with commercial violations of the German trade and payments act in three separate cases. The charges were filed at the Munich I Regional Court.

The company’s surveillance software, FinSpy, was offered for download in 2017 via a fake website to the Turkish opposition movement under false pretenses in order to spy on them, prosecutors said.

Munich prosecutors opened the investigation into FinFisher in 2019, after receiving complaints from a group of NGOs, including Reporters Without Borders Germany and the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights.

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