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Key evidence missing in Assange snooping case – media

Spanish police allegedly failed to produce a full phone record from a man who allegedly spied on the WikiLeaks founder for the CIA

The Spanish case against a man whose firm allegedly snooped on Julian Assange for the US government has hit a roadblock over key evidence which has reportedly gone missing, according to the El Pais newspaper.

The defendant, David Morales, is the owner of UC Global SL – a company hired to provide security at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where the Wikileaks founder was holed up between 2012 and 2019.

The company is accused of abusing its position by installing secret recording devices in the building, and reporting confidential details about Assange and his meetings to the CIA. An expose by the newspaper El Pais revealed the arrangement in 2019, leading to the businessman’s arrest.

On Wednesday, the outlet reported that Spanish police had not provided the complete files from a Samsung phone, which Morales apparently used to keep in touch with American intelligence. The absent data includes records of WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, Proton Mail and Skype communications.

The device was seized in September 2019, when police searched Morales’ home in the Spanish city of Jerez de la Frontera, and its contents were supposedly copied on the spot. The police provided the Spanish High Court with a derivative Universal Forensic Data Report (UFDR) from the device, but not the complete original Universal Forensic Data Exchange (UFDX), El Pais said.

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Former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa speaks at a press conference on March 9, 2023, Caracas, Venezuela
CIA contractor spied on Latin American leaders – El Pais

”It is extremely striking that the police unit has delivered the UFDR and UFDX files from the other devices and has not done so precisely from this one,” the public prosecutor’s office said.

Judge Santiago Pedraz has ordered the police Cybercrime Unit to immediately recover the full data from the phone in his presence, and establish who was responsible for the situation. The abridged profile was shared through a cloud service used for storing evidence.

Spanish authorities are aware of the importance of the phone records thanks to a protected witness, a former employee of UC Global SL. The UFDR reportedly includes some circumstantial evidence in the form of words recorded by the keyboard app Swiftkey.

Assange was granted refuge at the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012, after jumping bail in the UK, to avoid extradition to Sweden. Assange claimed Stockholm’s request was merely part of an attempt to get him to the US, where he could have faced the death penalty on espionage charges over his work for Wikileaks.

READ MORE: Assange visitors given green light to sue CIA

After the government changed in Ecuador, the Latin American country allowed British police to enter the diplomatic compound and arrest Assange in 2019. He has since been fighting a US extradition request in the British courts, while being held at a maximum security prison.

June 20, 2024 at 02:24PM

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