The Italian justice minister has ordered administrative checks to ascertain how wiretapping is carried out at Telecom Italia, amid a massive case of illicit data gathering involving a former official at Italy's largest phone company, an Associated Press report said.
The report, quoting Justice Minister Clemente Mastella, said that since wiretapping could be part of an investigation and a trial, it was necessary to ensure there were no further distortions.
"I hope there's nothing and I believe there will be nothing but it is fair that "&brkbar; I put my officials to work so that there is the maximum guarantee possible," Mastella was quoted as saying from Naples in southern Italy.
Ministry officials stressed that the checks did not amount to an investigation of Telecom Italia. It would entail ministry officials seeking information about the wiretapping procedures at Telecom Italia, the report said.
"I want to see how that activity is carried out," Mastella was quoted as saying.
An investigation into an alleged spy ring had led to the arrest of 20 people, including former Telecom Italia chief of security Giuliano Tavaroli and Emanuele Cipriani, head of a private investigation agency in Florence, the report said.
The suspects were accused of spying on and gathering bank and legal data, as well as other sensitive information, on a wide-ranging number of businessmen, politicians and even sports figures, the report further said.