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Spain's spy chief sacked after Pegasus cyber-espionage scandal engulfs ruling coalition

© Juan Carlos Hidalgo/EPA
Paz Esteban reportedly confirmed last week that 18 members of the Catalan independence movement were spied on with judicial approval by Spain’s national intelligence centre.

The Spanish government has sacked the country’s spy chief, Paz Esteban, as it tries to contain the fallout from a cyber-espionage scandal that has engulfed the ruling coalition and raised further questions about the use of controversial Pegasus spyware in Spain and beyond.

Esteban’s dismissal on Tuesday came amid growing political tensions and almost two years after a joint investigation by the Guardian and El País first revealed that senior pro-independence Catalan politicians were warned their mobile phones had been targeted using the spyware.

The scandal has intensified over recent weeks after cybersecurity experts at Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto said at least 63 people connected with the Catalan independence movement had been targeted or infected with Pegasus spyware between 2017

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