British firm was behind bugging of London embassy, says Ecuadorean Foreign Minister

 

A British surveillance firm was behind the bugging of the London embassy building, in which WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is sheltering, the Ecuadorean Foreign Minister has claimed.

Ricardo Patino presented the results of tests carried out on what he said was a device found in the office of his country's ambassador to Britain Ana Alban during routine checks in June. He asked for the cooperation of the British government in finding out who is behind the alleged planting of the device.

The hidden microphone could be used to listen to Ms Alban's conversations, Mr Patino said, holding up a picture of the purported bug at a press conference in Quito. Julian Assange lives and works in a different room in the embassy.

He told reporters: "We have reason to believe that the bugging was carried out by The Surveillance Group Limited, one of the largest private investigation and covert surveillance companies in the United Kingdom."

But the Surveillance Group was quick to deny installing the device. Its chief executive Timothy Young said: "We have this morning heard an accusation the source of which is apparently Ricardo Patino, the Ecuadorian Foreign Minister suggesting that we have bugged the Ecuadorian Embassy.

"This is 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," he told ITV News.

Yesterday, Mr Patino said he would demand "explanations" announcing that a listening device was found during last month's trip to London to visit WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

"We are infiltrated everywhere," Mr Patino told reporters at a press conference. He added that he kept the news quiet until then because he "didn't want the theme of [his] visit to London to be confused with this matter." During the trip, Mr Patino also met British Foreign Minister William Hague to discuss Mr Assange's future.

Mr Patino said: "Furthermore, we first wanted to ascertain with precision what could be the origin of this interception device in the office of our ambassador. We are sorry to say so, but this is another instance of a loss of ethics at the international level in relations between governments."

A message posted yesterday on the official WikiLeaks Twitter read: "Sieging/bugging of Ecuador's London embassy and the blockading of Morales jet shows that imperial arrogance is the gift that keeps on giving."

Video: WikiLeaks documentary

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will also work alongside their seasoned sa...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Property Manager

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking for your first step into...

Recruitment Genius: Mechanical Design Engineer

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This innovative company working...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat