Greece fines Vodafone Hellas again over tapping

ATHENS, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Greece's telecoms regulator has fined the Greek unit of Vodafone VOD.L 19.1 million euros ($27.23 million) for breaching privacy rules, the regulator said in a statement late on Thursday.

The fine is the second imposed over a wiretapping scandal that rocked the country last year. In 2006, Greece revealed that more than 100 people, including the country’s prime minister, had their mobile phones tapped around the time of the Athens 2004 Olympics.

In December 2006, Greece’s privacy watchdog fined Vodafone Hellas 76 million euros for a “number of infringements attributed to the company”, without giving details.

Vodafone Hellas has said it would appeal against the decision, saying it considers the fine illegal.

Last month, the privacy watchdog also fined the Greek unit of telecom equipment maker Ericsson ERICb.ST more than 7 million euros over the wiretapping affair. Ericsson Hellas said it planned to appeal against the ruling.

The bugged phones were found to have been tapped mostly before and during the Athens Games by unknown eavesdroppers. The case became public after Vodafone Greece informed the government of its concerns when it suspected its equipment was being used.

Calls were relayed to unknown destinations via four mobile phone antennas in central Athens. The bugging stopped when Vodafone Greece discovered the software and removed it from the system.