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Politics

Greek Prosecutor Gets Audio Claiming SYRIZA Minister Sought Bribe

ATHENS – An unlawfully recorded audio said to reveal that a former alternate justice minister for the previous Radical Left SYRIZA government wanted a bribe from a Greek-Israeli businessman has been sent to a prosecutor, Vangelis Ioannidis, for review.

It allegedly implicates Dimitris Papangelopoulos, being probed by a parliamentary committee trying to determine whether he interfered in the unraveled case in which SYRIZA said 10 rival politicians took bribes from the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis.

Ioannidis, will decide whether there is enough evidence to investigate former state minister Nikos Pappas for perjury before a parliamentary committee investigating allegations of interference in a bribery probe by SYRIZA’s Papangelopoulos.

Pappas’ testimony to the committee was at odds with what the audio reveals but he said it was heavily edited and said he did nothing wrong although in the recording, submitted by businessman Sabby Mionis, Pappas appears to admit to knowing that Papangelopoulos had his “own agenda” and was “making a lot of money” from backroom deals, or “outsourcing.”

Mionis also submitted a written testimony, in which he claimed that he had been harassed by judicial officials for failing to pay a bribe to Papangelopoulos in 2016.

Mionis’ claim – partially repeating earlier assertions – sparked a firestorm between SYRIZA and the ruling New Democracy as another prominent former minister for the Leftists, Nikos Pappas, was ensnared.

Mionis, said Kathimerini in a report, told the committee he was harassed by judicial officials he didn’t name – a common tactic in Greek politics – for not paying a bribe to Papangelopoulos, although it wasn’t said for what it was.

Mionis attached an audio recording of a phone conversation then-Minister of State Pappas who told the businessman that Papangelopoulos was known for having his “own agenda” and “making a lot of money” from backroom deals, or “outsourcing.”

He also appears to be goading Mionis to encourage an ex-aide to former premier Antonis Samaras to denigrate the profile of Mareva Grabowski, wife of the then leader of the official opposition and current Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis the paper said.

The Conservatives said the testimony showed SYRIZA was operating a “ruthless parastate” during its 4 ½-year reign that ended in a big defeat to New Democracy in July 7, 2019 snap elections.

Pappas said New Democracy was engaging in a “ridiculous distraction” after “shocking revelations” were made earlier in the probe about Greece’s former top corruption prosecutor Eleni Raikou, and Samaras.

In a televised statement, Pappas said the recording was unlawful because it was made secretly and that it had been heavily edited in an attempt to falsify the meaning and said New Democracy was using “Mafia methods” to get him, the two parties firing shots again.

He said references in the recordings about “an agenda” and “doing jobs” have nothing to do with Papangelopoulos.

Other reports said that when asked during a private conversation to comment about the content of the talk that Papangelopoulos said, “Ask Mr Pappas.”If anything happens to me, know that I don't have suicidal tendencies. I am a victim of a global criminal organization," he reportedly said without any indicating what he was talking about.

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