Israeli spyware firm denies link to Khashoggi killing

Firm rejects allegations of aiding Saudi government in spying on slain journalist

Israeli spyware firm denies link to Khashoggi killing

An Israeli software company on Monday denied allegations that its spyware had been used in connection with the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi

Accused of helping the Saudi government monitor Khashoggi’s phone messages, NSO Group called the allegations "completely unfounded" with "no evidence” that the company’s technology had been used. 

The accusations were made by Montreal-based activist Omar Abdulaziz, who said his phone was hacked by the company through its Pegasus software, which allowed the Saudi government to monitor his correspondence with Khashoggi. 

Pegasus infects phones by sending text messages tempting users to click an attached link. Once the link is clicked, the software is downloaded to the device and infects it.

Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and columnist for The Washington Post, went missing after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. 

After initially saying he had left the consulate alive, Saudi Arabia admitted weeks later that he was killed there. 

Abdulaziz's legal team filed a lawsuit in Israel on Sunday arguing that NSO Group broke international laws by selling its software to Saudi Arabia, knowing it could be used to violate human rights. 

Last May, Abdulaziz said he met two Saudi government officials in Montreal and recorded their conversations, sharing them with CNN. 

The officials said they were sent by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who wanted to offer him a job. 

Abdulaziz consulted with Khashoggi after the officials told him to go to the Saudi embassy to fill out paperwork, and Khashoggi told him not to go and to only meet in public places.