How investors distance themselves from Pegasus and Nso Group

by Enrico Martial Maretta between shareholders and investors of Novalpina, the Luxembourg company that controls the Israeli Nso Group at the center of the Pegasus case. The article by Enrico Martial

Novalpina will dissolve: it is the European investment company, based in Luxembourg, which controls Nso Group, the Israeli company that invented and distributed the Pegasus spy software to at least a dozen states, currently at the center of an international scandal for the profile of the subjects involved and for the interception objectives, from journalists to internal and external political opponents, to politicians, including several ministers, 13 heads of state, and also internal figures in numerous countries. Nso Group has denied these circumstances on several occasions. Les Echos, the French business newspaper that reported on July 28, indicates that for at least two years several NGOs have been putting pressure on Luxembourgish society for the choices made on espionage and human rights. He also reports that in Novalpina there are professional investors, such as the American TPG fund or some pension funds, such as the Oregon Investment Council, the Alaska Permanent Fund, or the English South Yorkshire Pension Authority which, in 2019, had added a billion capital. simultaneously with the acquisition of Nso Group. A conflict had meanwhile developed between the three main components of Novalpina, represented by Stephen Peel, Stefan Kowski and Bastian Lueken, who later became public with a lawsuit in Luxembourg, the outline of which was described by the Guardian in March 2021.

Also according to Les Echos, the conflict could have been resolved at the beginning of the year with the sale to a vehicle company, a Spac, for 2 billion, with the listing on the stock exchange and with new Nso Group activities, such as the interception of drones. Instead, at the end of a three-hour call during the month of July, the parties would have decided to dissolve. According to the Financial Times, by 6 August it should be established how the shares of Novalpina and its shareholdings, including Nso Group, will be managed. According to the investigation by the Forbidden Stories consortium of 17 global media (including the Guardian, Le Monde, the Washington Post, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Die Zeit, Haaretz), at least 50,000 phones were selected by Nso Group's Pegasus software, belonging to journalists , lawyers, opponents or politicians at the highest levels in many countries. The Israeli company Nso Group had grown a lot in the time of Benjamin Netanyahu, amid at least 700 other companies, often led by ex-military, focused on cybersecurity, espionage and counter-espionage, which also gave birth to other products, such as Cellebrite , access to even ultra-protected smartphones, in turn the subject of an attack, which was reported on January 12 last year. In addition to Amnesty International which analyzed several phones, Le Monde said that the French cybersecurity authority and agency (Anssi) formally confirmed the traces of Pegasus in the phone of a journalist from France 24, the French public information television channel. Among the selected phones, there would be targets of interest for Morocco (which has denied and initiated legal proceedings), up to François de Rugy, Minister of the Environment of the government of Edouard Philippe, and one of the phones of President Emmanuel Macron, for which the Elysée confirms that there are analyzes in progress, but without getting too far off balance. Among the other countries that would have used the Pegasus software are Orban's Hungary, India - which among other things would have made people close to the Dalai Lama spy - Mexico, Kazakhstan, Togo, or the United Arab Emirates. United, who would even watch over the princesses who wanted to get away from the country.