Greek Prosecutor Calls Probe into Kotzias Defamation Suit

FILE - Former foreign minister Nikos Kotzias speaking at event in the Cretan city of Irakleio. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Stefanos Rapanis)

ATHENS – Supreme Court Prosecutor Xeni Dimitriou has ordered a probe into a lawsuit filed by former foreign minister Nikos Kotzias for what he alleged was defamation and dissemination of false news aimed at undermining a deal he made with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to rename that country.

Kotzias said media reports were aimed at getting him to back away from concluding the negotiations to let FYROM be called North Macedonia – keeping the name of an ancient abutting Greek province – and let its citizens be called Macedonians and have a Macedonian language, culture and identity.

He also denies having met with American-Hungarian billionaire financier George Soros, and said claims – from Defense Minister Panos Kammenos – that Kotzias had control of a secret 35 million euro ($39.93 million) secret slush fund in the ministry.

Kammenos is the leader of the pro-austerity, marginal, jingoistic Independent Greeks (ANEL) who are junior partners in the coalition headed by the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA to which Kotzias belongs.

New Democracy also called for an investigation into the claims that Kammenos said certain ministers had been funded by Soros.

Kotzias is suit-happy, having won a 250,000 euro ($285,210) judgment against the Athens Review of Books for printing a letter to the editor describing him as “the most extreme and fanatical, cruel and relentless communist of our generation, a veritable Gauleiter (historically, a political official governing a district under Nazi rule, i.e. an overbearing official) of Stalinism.”