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Man arrested in New York for allegedly spying on opponents of Egypt’s Sissi

39-year-old Pierre Girgis, a dual US-Egyptian citizen, charged with illegally acting as unregistered agent of Egyptian government

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi speaks during the opening ceremony of the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, November 1, 2021. (Yves Herman/Pool via AP, File)
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi speaks during the opening ceremony of the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, November 1, 2021. (Yves Herman/Pool via AP, File)

NEW YORK — US authorities arrested a New York man who allegedly spied on political opponents of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, the Justice Department said.

Pierre Girgis, 39, was charged in New York with acting illegally as an unregistered agent of the Egyptian government.

The department said in a statement that, acting at the direction of Egyptian officials, Girgis “tracked and obtained information regarding political opponents of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi.”

Girgis, a dual US-Egyptian citizen, also made arrangements for visiting Egyptian officials, including meetings with US law enforcement, the statement said.

Encrypted messages between Girgis and Egyptian officials showed he was in contact with more than one Cairo government agency for information collection between 2014 and 2019, according to the indictment.

In 2017, it said, he sent information on an anti-Sissi activist and other individuals that he had obtained from the Egyptian government to US law enforcement officers.

He was charged under a law that makes it illegal to act as a representative of a foreign government without first registering with the Justice Department.

The department “will continue to strictly enforce foreign agent registration laws, which remain critically important to ensuring that our government is not secretly influenced by foreign governments,” said US Attorney Damian Williams in a statement.”

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