Dutch accuse UK of ‘damaging confidence’ by disclosing details of EncroChat police collaboration

by Jeremy

Prosecutors in Rotterdam have accused the UK of “damaging confidence” of European law enforcement bodies by disclosing details of a joint police operation to infiltrate the EncroChat encrypted phone network.

The Dutch Public Prosecution Service (OM) has written to lawyers in the Netherlands claiming that the UK wrongly disclosed documents from confidential meetings between law enforcement and prosecutors to the British courts.

The letter dated 24 March 2021 appears designed to counter suggestions made in UK court hearings that the Dutch had a role alongside the French Gendarmerie in harvesting millions of supposedly secure messages from EncroChat phones.

An international police operation based on data collected from the cryptophone network has led to hundreds of arrests in the UK and other countries, including France, Holland, Germany and Sweden.

Brits accused of breaking confidentiality

The letter claims that British prosecutors disclosed confidential details of the international police operation against EncroChat as they sought a ruling on the admissibility of intercepted EncroChat messages in UK courts.

Law enforcement agencies from France, Holland, the UK and other countries, held a series of meetings at European institutions – identified as Europol and the European Union agency for criminal justice cooperation, Eurojust – to coordinate action against EncroChat.

“The purpose of these meetings was to discuss with various representatives from different countries whether [they] see opportunities to cooperate and, if so, what legal and practical way this should be done,” the letter said. Unlike the UK, France, and the Netherlands are permitted to “tap streaming data” and use it in evidence, according to the letter.

That discrepancy between UK law and laws in France and the Netherlands led to court hearings last year to decide whether the EncroChat material could be used to bring prosecutions against British criminal suspects.

“Witnesses were heard and documents submitted to substantiate the position that data are admissible as evidence,” the letter said. The British “released documents from confidential meetings” and disclosed information that the joint French and Dutch investigation team had communicated to the authorities “through diplomatic channels”, according to the letter.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment