ATHENS - Former defense minister Panos Kammenos said media reports that he got foreign intelligence reports about Greek shipping oligarch Evangelos Marinakis’ alleged implication in the Noor One heroin smuggling case.
Kammenos was the leader of the tiny Independent Greeks (ANEL) party that was serving the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA in a coalition but did not return to Parliament after the July 7, 2019 snap elections won by New Democracy.
He withdrew from the coalition after then-Premier moved to give away the name of the ancient Greek province of Macedonia to what would be a newly-named North Macedonia, that was the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM.)
Kammenos told the website Real.gr that allegations against Marinankis were unfounded in court proceedings.
An article in The New Republic magazine called the vessel The Vampire Ship and said it was carrying at least two metric tons of heroin when seized in the port of Elefsina, just west of Athens, in 2014.
The report said the ongoing investigation threatened to involve Marinakis, also owner of the Olympiakos soccer team.
Kammenos dismissed it, including a part that said he was mentioned in connection with a businessman supposedly involved with the Noor One affair, saying he was “being attacked in an unethical way by leading members of a specific media organization,” without naming it.
“This is in no way connected to scenarios circulating in the Greek and foreign press, like the New Republic. My confrontation with the specific media company and its executives does not mean there is any truth to the allegations that I received information from foreign agencies regarding the businessman in question,” he said, according to Kathimerini.
“And in any case I have confidence in the Greek justice system which recently ruled that the particular (individual) was not involved in drug [trafficking] and more specifically the shipment of three tons of heroin aboard the Noor One,” he said.