4 Jul 2013

Ecuadorean embassy bugging claims ‘ridiculous’

The head of the British company accused of bugging the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, tells Channel 4 News the allegation is “utterly ridiculous”.

Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino (Reuters)

The Ecuadorean Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino claimed a microphone found in the office of the Ambassador, had been planted by The Surveillance Group, which is based in Worcester.

The allegation was made at a press conference in the Equadorean capital, Quito.

This is a wholly untrue assertion The Surveillance Group chief executive

Mr Patino produced a photo of an electrical socket where he said the bug had been discovered, and a second photo of the eavesdropping device itself.

He told reporters:

“Based on information uncovered by a private investigation that we had to undertake, we have grounds for believing that the eavesdropping was conducted by Surveillance Group Limited.”

He described the organisation as one of the largest private investigative and surveillance companies in the UK.

But the Chief Executive of The Surveillance Group, Timothy Young said the allegation was completely untrue.

“The Surveillance Group do not and have never been engaged in any activities of this nature. We have not been contacted by any member of the Ecuadorian Government and our first notification about this incident was via the press this morning. This is a wholly untrue assertion'”

Wikileaks founder and publisher Julian Assange has been holed up in the embassy for more than a year. He is seeking asylum in Ecuador in order to avoid extradition to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning over allegations of sexual assault against two women. He denies the charges.