LONDON (Thomson Financial) - The telecoms regulator on Thursday fined the Greek unit of UK mobile giant Vodafone 19.1 mln eur for violating network regulations in a wire-tapping scandal that rocked the country last year.
The fine is the second handed to Vodafone Hellas over the case after a 76 mln eur penalty levelled by Greece's communication privacy watchdog last December.
Some 100 Vodafone cellphones in February 2006 were found to have been compromised by an illicit network that tapped sets used by Greek Premier Costas Karamanlis, his wife and several ministers from June 2004 to March 2005.
The tapping used software slipped into Vodafone's network by unknown perpetrators to illegally activate an Ericsson-made module permitting call interception.
On Thursday, the national telecommunications regulator EETT accused Vodafone of breaching regulations on the protection of telecommunications privacy, network maintenance and quality, and consumer protection.
The company rejected last December's fine as 'illegal, unfair and baseless.'
A Greek parliament committee collecting evidence on the case last November noted the involvement of three employees of telecoms giants Ericsson Hellas and Vodafone Greece, identified only by their initials.
'The whole system could not operate without Ericsson know-how and without access from within (Vodafone),' the report said.
The Greek branch of Swedish telecom equipment giant Ericsson has also been fined 7.36 mln eur over the case.
The parliamentary committee did not rule out the involvement of other people operating outside Greece.
The Greek justice department has opened an investigation into the case but nobody has yet been charged.
Days before the affair came to light, a senior Vodafone expert was found hanged inside his home.
The death of Costas Tsalikidis, manager of Vodafone Greece's network planning section, was linked to the case and his family suspects he was murdered.