Cypriot police said on Saturday they had seized an alleged “spy van” equipped with sophisticated surveillance equipment capable of hacking communications and questioned its Israeli owner.
Police began investigating after the opposition communist party AKEL asked what the government was doing about activities undertaken in the van, which was showcased in a Forbes video story broadcast several months ago that only recently went viral in Cyprus.
Cyprus police chief Kypros Michaelides told private radio station Astra that the Israeli owner had given “some explanations”, but he would be questioned further, along with Cypriot nationals.
Forbes had named the owner of the van as ex-Israeli intelligence officer Tal Dilian, who allegedly heads a Cyprus-registered company that owns the vehicle.
It said the $9 million state-of-the-art equipment in the van can monitor electronic devices within a 500-metre (yards) radius, hack any phone and listen in to conversations regardless of the level of encryption.
Investigators searched a company premises where the van was located in the southern coastal resort of Larnaca after securing warrants, Cypriot police said.
“On preliminary examination, the vehicle was found to have electronic equipment and was confiscated, along with other evidence,” a police statement said.