Two British arrested in Rome for suspected cyber spying

China Central Television (CCTV) – Italian police Tuesday said they arrested two British citizens on suspicion of cyber-espionage.

Police claimed that the two had been illegally monitoring a large number of government officials, entrepreneurs and scholars, including President of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi and former Italian Prime-Minister Matteo Renzi.

The two suspects, 45-year-old Giulio Occhionero and his sister Francessa Occhionero, jointly own a securities company in Rome. Guilio is also a nuclear engineer.

According to prosecutors, they are accused of stealing Italy’s national security information, intruding into computer system and intercepting communication information.

The police have arrested them and started preliminary interrogation on Wednesday. The attorney of the two suspects met with his clients in the detention center on the same day, who later told the media that the Occhioneros insisted that they never engaged in any criminal activities.

“(Giulio Occhionero) explained why their server was in a foreign country. That was out of practical considerations since he provided financial counseling services. He denied all the criminal charges,” attorney Stefano Parretta said.

The huge amount of sensitive information the Occhioneros had collected over the past six years has made many believe that there are some bigger groups and other real beneficiaries behind them.

“The activities were elaborately organized. Their targets were carefully chosen for certain purposes. I have a feeling that it is only a tip of the iceberg,” said Maurizio Mensi, law professor with Luiss Business School in Rome.

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