ATHENS – Alpha TV station owner Dimitris Kontominas said tax evasion and money laundering charges brought against him were politically-motivated.
The insurance company owner’s Alpha was one of the stations that did not win a private TV license bid in an auction set by Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras to cut the number of stations to four amid charges the Premier is trying to silence critics as his party slides for reneging on anti-austerity promises.
Kontominas linked the auction to his troubles, which include charges there were discrepancies in his bank accounts that allegedly showed a deviation of 48 million euros ($52.33 million) the business newspaper Naftemporiki said.
Kontominas denied the charges against him, noting, among others, that he has no connection whatsoever with the so-called “Lagarde list” purportedly listing Greek citizens with bank accounts at a HSBC branch in Geneva in previous years.
“The criminal case against me, at this juncture, is clearly part of an effort target me, and related to the ongoing developments over (TV) channels’ licensing; one that aims to mislead public opinion from the unprecedented attack on plurality and mass media’s independence,” he said, according to the paper.
Kontominas had been audited with reports alleging problems with his accounts despite his denials.