A mobile phone owned by Prime Minister, Pedro Sanchez, was hacked twice in May 2021 according to the Spanish government.

The unit was hit by the same Pegasus spyware that Catalan politicians have accused the national government of using against them

Defence Minister, Margarita Robles, was also hacked last June.

Speaking on Monday, Presidency Minister, Felix Bolaños, said: “We have no doubt that this is an illicit, unauthorised intervention.”

“It comes from outside state organisms and it didn’t have judicial authorization,” he added.

Bolaños said a significant amount of information had been obtained via the hacks and the National Court will be investigating the matter.

The government is checking to see if other ministers had been hacked.

Pegasus spyware is only available to governments and its use is highly controversial.

Cybersecurity experts known as Citizen Lab working for the University of Toronto last week produced a report that claimed extensive Pegasus cyber-hacking of over 60 Catalan separatist politicians.

Citizen Lab concluded that it was likely, but without definitive proof, that the hacks would have been authorised at a national government level.

Government officials strongly denied any such involvement but it provoked anger from Catalan politicians.

The ERC party withdrew support for a €16 billion economic relief bill which only got through by two votes in Congress.

The European Union’s data protection body wants Pegasus to be banned following suggestions that governments use the spyware to monitor politicians, journalists, and human rights activists.

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