MP Bribe Claims Are Denied

ATHENS – A man who a Greek lawmaker said tried to bribe her to support the ruling parties choice of a Greek President denied the claim and said he has no connection with the New Democracy Conservatives of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

Giorgos Soukouras was accused by Stavroula Xoulidou of the marginal Independent Greeks (ANEL) party of calling her and contacting her via Facebook to tempt her to vote for the government’s Presidential candidate in February, 2015 in return for up to 3 million euros.

“New Democracy has nothing to do with this and whatever I told Mrs. Xoulidou was my personal opinion,” said Soukouras. He admitted to meeting the MP in her office once but said that the pair discussed cuts to farmers’ pensions.

Soukouras acknowledged he made references to the Presidential election in his correspondence with the MP but said he never mentioned a bribe. “What Mrs Xoulidou is saying is a fairy tale,” he said.

The lawmaker gave a deposition to a prosecutor on Nov. 27 and the allegations will be investigated although a prosecutor had already ruled there wasn’t enough evidence to proceed.

New Democracy and its coalition partner, the PASOK Socialists, need 180 votes in the 300-member Parliament to get their man elected or early national elections will be called. They have only 155 together.

The major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA), which is leading in polls, is trying to block the election so that national polls will be called. It has 71 votes and ANEL leader Panos Kammenos said he would likely give his party’s 14 to the effort to stop a President being elected.