NSO chairman resigns following Israel Police spying scandal

Levy insisted his departure from NSO Group is unrelated to the Israel Police spyware scandal.

 AN AERIAL view shows the logo of Israeli cyber firm NSO Group at one of its branches in the Arava Desert. (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
AN AERIAL view shows the logo of Israeli cyber firm NSO Group at one of its branches in the Arava Desert.
(photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

Chairman of NSO Group Asher Levy resigned on Tuesday from his position at the company, Calcalist reported.

Levy's resignation comes after increased scrutiny following Calcalist's report from last week that detailed Israel Police's use of NSO's Pegasus spyware technology against Israeli citizens.

Despite that, the former NSO chairman insisted his departure from the Israeli tech company is not related to the scandal in a statement released to Israeli media following his resignation.

"There is no connection between my departure and recent reports linked to the company," the statement reads.

According to Levy, he was originally appointed in April 2020 by controlling investment firm Novelpina, which pulled out investment in the company, making Berkeley Research Group (BRG) NSO's controlling shareholder. "As soon as they [Novelpina] got out, I told BRG I wish to resign from my post," Levy stated.

 A PROTESTER HOLDS a banner during a protest attended by about a dozen people outside the offices of the Israeli cyber firm NSO Group in Herzliya, last week.  (credit: NIR ELIAS / REUTERS) A PROTESTER HOLDS a banner during a protest attended by about a dozen people outside the offices of the Israeli cyber firm NSO Group in Herzliya, last week. (credit: NIR ELIAS / REUTERS)

Israel Police chief Kobi Shabtai initially denied the reports, stating that “everything is done with the necessary legal authorization. The Israeli police do not use its advanced technological capabilities against innocent citizens or protesters.”

Later in the week, Shabtai backtracked, saying that the police "will fix" any instance where it abused its power by invading people’s cellphones with NSO Group's spyware.

State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman and the Privacy Authority both announced they will probe police on the issue, with Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit ordering an investigation into police surveillance tactics