World Cup 2022. Qatar accused of having sponsored the espionage of around fifty personalities

Two weeks before an already controversial World Cup, Qatar is at the heart of a new controversy. The Gulf country is accused of being the source of espionage by hackers on nearly fifty personalities. According to a survey published this Sunday in the British daily The Sunday Timesthese personalities have most often been targeted for their work or critical positions on the awarding and organization of the competition, which kicks off on November 20.

Among the people targeted by the group of hackers based in India are in particular journalists, like that of the Sunday Times Jonathan Calvert, who had investigated the alleged corruption maneuvers that led to the awarding of the event to Qatar in 2010, but also a journalist from Mediapart, as claimed by the French investigation site. Also spied on were French Senator Nathalie Goulet, who had accused Qatar of financing « Islamic terrorism », and Hungarian-American lawyer Mark Somos, who filed a complaint against Qatar’s ruling family before the United Nations High Council. for human rights.

The former president of UEFA, Michel Platini, yet a great defender of Qatar’s candidacy to organize the World Cup, would also have been targeted. This would have happened shortly before he was heard by French justice as part of an investigation into suspicions of corruption in the awarding of the World Cup to the gas emirate. In reaction to the statements of the English newspaper, Michel Platini said he was « surprised and deeply shocked ». The former captain of the France team is studying « all the legal action he is determined to take – if the information from the Sunday Times are accurate – to what appears to be a gross and villainous violation of his privacy,” it said in a statement.

According to data retrieved by the Sunday Times and The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) this year, it is from 2019 that these operations of hacking mailboxes or taking remote control of the microphones and cameras of the computers of the targeted people began. “The investigation clearly indicates that the client (of the hackers) is the host of the next World Cup: Qatar,” write the journalists. The use of the Indian group of hackers would have been made through former British police or intelligence officers, now working in the private sector.

Qatar denial

A Qatari official denounced « manifestly false and baseless » allegations, which are based « on a single source who claims that his client was Qatar, without providing any proof ». « Qatar will not sit idly by (…), and all the legal options at our disposal are being studied to ensure that their leaders will be held accountable », he warns again.


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