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Politics

Businessman Says SYRIZA Minister Pushed Him to Make TV License Bid

ATHENS – A Greek businessman who said he didn't have the money to make a bid for a TV license told a court that a top advisor to then-Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras wanted the government to use his name and would find the funds.

Christos Kalogritsas, part of the probe into competition for the TV licenses, claimed he was pressured by then Digital Policy Minister Nikos Pappas even though the businessman's bank accounts had been frozen at the time, said Kathimerini, citing 

He claimed to have explained this to Pappas who, he alleged, answered: “We don’t need money from you. We can get it. We just want your name.”

The 25 million euros ($29.68 million) for the competition was  provided, of which 3 million euros ($3.56 million) was submitted as a guarantee.

Kalogritsas allegedly concluded his deposition claiming that he was “carrying out orders of the then government.”

In July, Kalogritsas said he was aware of a shell company he had set up with which to participate in a competition for television licenses in 2016. 

In a lawsuit he filed with the Athens prosecutor’s office, Kalogritsas referred to an “agreement” he had with a Lebanese company, CCC, from which he received a letter of guarantee for the 3 million euros, Kathimerini said then.

He backed up his claim that high-ranking government officials knew of his illegal agreement by submitting documents and emails.

He said that his company, Toxotis, had no business dealings with the Lebanese company, and that the letter of guarantee for the 3 million euros was completely bogus and that  it was signed by Pappas to get the Kalogritsas group in the competition. 

He also claimed that after his group’s exclusion from the competition, Pappas instructed him to contribute the 3 million euros toward pro-government newspaper Documento, no reason given.

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