(CNN Spanish) — The Attorney General of Mexico (FGR) confirmed this Sunday that it is carrying out two investigations, in separate cases, involving the Pegasus communications intervention software, for which it is also managing arrest warrants, although it did not specify against whom, according to a statement from the entity.
The Prosecutor’s Office reported that the first of the investigations is due to alleged irregularities by the former Attorney General’s Office in the acquisition of the “Pegasus intelligence team” without “there being justification for its execution and evading public bidding procedures, as well as the irregular use of the Public and National Security Expenditure item”.
According to the Prosecutor’s Office, in the process, the then chief director of the PGR Criminal Investigation Agency, Tomás Zerón, and other “public servants” who were not mentioned, allegedly committed the crimes of embezzlement, equated fraud and criminal association. delinquent
Zerón is detained in Israel pending an extradition request made by the Government of Mexico for his alleged participation in crimes related to the investigation related to the 43 Ayotzinapa students in Iguala, Guerrero, disappeared in September 2014 .
Zerón has said in the past that the charges against him are false and politically motivated. CNN is trying to locate his attorney to rule on this new case.
The Prosecutor’s Office also said that if information is obtained on the possible use of Pegasus in illegal espionage, it could “expand the criminal action for related crimes.”
Second investigation on Pegasus
The second investigation into the Pegasus software, confirmed by the FGR this Sunday, has to do with the possible crime of “illegal interception of private communications to the detriment of various journalists and human rights defenders,” according to the statement.
In this case, the entity indicated that there is a person who will be put on trial for charges of illegal communication intervention.
CNN is trying to get information on how the detainee pleads before the indictment.
In November 2021, when this person was arrested, the special prosecutor for Attention to Crimes Committed against Freedom of Expression (FEADLE), Ricardo Sánchez Pérez del Pozo, said that the accused “was an operator of this system within a company company in charge of marketing this software in Mexico”.
In its statement this Sunday, the Prosecutor’s Office explains that in this case evidence has been presented to the judicial authority that suggests that the company that develops the software, NSO Group, allegedly illegally sold the system while, at the same time, “used it on your own to give the information to other people.
CNN is trying to get a response from the company to these allegations.
Pegasus is a platform that can undetectably tap cell phones and gain access to emails, files, photos, and chats.
In early October, a group of civil organizations denounced the espionage in Mexico of at least three journalists and human rights activists through software between 2019 and 2021.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador denied the accusations and said in his morning conference on October 4 that “it is not true that journalists or opponents are spied on. We are not the same as the previous ones, it is not true. I made the commitment that no one was going to be spied on, no opponent.”
Following that complaint, a company spokesperson told CNN that NSO Group “does not operate Pegasus, has no visibility into its usage, and does not collect information about customers or who they monitor.”
It added that “NSO licenses Pegasus only to law enforcement and intelligence agencies of sovereign states and government agencies after approval by the Israeli government. When we determine wrongdoing, we terminate the contracts.”
— Fidel Gutiérrez contributed to this report.