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Reports: Telecom Italia employees accused of spying on TEF, TMX

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The employees were arrested on November 5 and accused of spying on the "enemy" after forming a team referred to as the Tiger Team. The team is thought to have started the espionage in 2005 when Telefonica began talks with Telecom about possible acquisitions or alliances, according to the reports.

The Telecom employees implicated are former Brasil Telecom chief of security Angelo Iannone, and IT technicians Roberto Rangoni and Alfredo Melloni, according to the reports.

The reports say that the accused accessed confidential information about TEF and TMX subsidiaries in Europe and Latin America. Among the subsidiaries that were hacked are Vodafone, Embratel, Telemar and Vivo.

However, the main accusation has been made against Brasil Telecom between 2003 and 2005, when Telecom Italia was involved in a contentious struggle for control of the operator. According to court documents, Telecom employees spied on ex-members of Brasil Telecom's board, the report said.

The news comes at a confusing time in relations between Telecom Italia and Telefonica, since Telefonica's president Cesar Alierta and general manager Julio Linares joined Telecom Italia's board of directors this week.

The move was made possible due to Telefonica's part in a consortium that acquired a 23.6% indirect stake in Telecom through holding company Olimpia earlier this year.

Telecom Italia is also under fire in Italy because of allegations of bribes paid to Brazilian parliament officials in 2003.

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Tags: telecom italia  telefonica  brasil telecom  cesar alierta  telmex  parliament  telefonica,  Brazil  Italy