Two cell phone numbers of Nasser al-Khelaifi have appeared on the leaked list of 50,000 potential target numbers for Pegasus spyware, reports Le Monde.
Phone numbers belonging to Nasser al-Khelaifi, Qatari president of Paris Saint Germain football club and general manager of beIN Sports, were on the list of numbers potentially targeted by the Pegasus spyware, French daily Le Monde reported.
Pegasus, software designed by the Israeli company NSO, has been implicated in the mass surveillance of journalists, human rights defenders and at least 14 heads of state, in addition to several members of their family.
Their phone numbers were among around 50,000 potential surveillance targets on a list leaked to rights group Amnesty International and Paris-based Forbidden Stories, which was shared with a media consortium.
Pegasus can hack into mobile phones without the user’s knowledge, allowing customers to read every message, track a user’s location, and access the phone’s camera and microphone, essentially turning a phone into a a monitoring device.
According to an investigation by Le Monde, two cell phone numbers belonging to al-Khelaifi were also on the leaked list.
Le Monde reported that the same client who used Pegasus to potentially hack into beIN Media Group’s executive phones, also targeted senior Turkish, Emirati and Lebanese officials and several voices critical of the Saudi monarchy, suggesting that the agencies of Saudi security forces were behind the hack. .
Le Monde stressed, however, that it was unable to physically examine the phones of al-Khelaifi or other beIN employees, and therefore could not confirm whether these devices were indeed infected with Pegasus. .
The daily reported that the potential hacking of al-Khelaifi’s phones took place in 2018, at the height of the Gulf conflict between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. Egypt. In June 2017, these four countries imposed a diplomatic and trade blockade on Qatar, which lasted for almost four years.
The blocking countries accused Doha of “supporting terrorism” and of having ties with Iran that they deemed too close. Qatar has consistently rejected the charges.
As the head of beIN, al-Khelaifi was at the center of the dispute between Qatar and Saudi Arabia over the pirate channel BeoutQ, which stole beIN signals to broadcast the best football competitions and tournaments.
Le Monde reported that shortly before al-Khelaifi was a potential victim of the Pegasus hack, Qatar filed an official complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) regarding BeoutQ’s operations. In the complaint, Qatar demanded $ 1 billion in damages from the pirate channel.
In a reaction Thursday, NSO said the leak was “not a list of targets or potential targets for Pegasus.”
ONS Director General Shalev Hulio told IDF Radio that he “would be very happy if there was an investigation, so that we can clear our name.” He also alleged that there had been an effort “to smear the entire Israeli cyber industry”.
NSO said it exports to 45 countries, with the approval of the Israeli government.
Hulio said the company could not release details of its contracts due to “confidentiality concerns,” but said it would provide full transparency to any government seeking more details.
“Let any state entity come – any official from any state – and I will be ready to open everything to them, so that they can come in, search from top to bottom,” he said. declared.