ATHENS – A former top minister for the ousted Radical Left SYRIZA squeezed for media businessmen to be investigated without cause or evidence, reportedly said a previous prosecutor for the country’s financial crimes squad.
Panayiotis Athanasiou allegedly accused former alternate justice minister Dimitris Papangelopoulos, who later was head of an anti-corruption agency, of pressuring judicial officials to investigate and prosecute media leaders.
That was said to have come in Athanasiou’s testimony to a parliamentary inquiry committee looking into Papangelopouls’ role in SYRIZA’s claims that 10 political rivals took bribes from the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis.
That was based on the word of three whistleblowers, two of whom remain secret, even though it was their hearsay testimony which didn’t lead to any evidence being produced and the alleged scandal unraveling.
The former prosecutor reportedly said that Papangelopoulos was not interested in investigating lists of possible tax evaders but wanted to go after media owners and even a journalist as SYRIZA was also accused of trying to interfere with the courts.
“The shocking details point to the operation of a deep state inside justice that resembles shady regimes and not a European state with rule of law,” ruling New Democracy said in a statement.
Papangelopoulos accused Athanasiou in a statement of making up “obscene lies” and stated he will take legal action against him as the case heated up. Only one of those accused in the Novartis case is still being looked at with the rest cleared of any charges.