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Society

Man Accused in Thessaloniki Gang Rape Says Woman Consented

THESSALONIKI – A 27-year-old man who is one of three that a 24-year-old woman said raped her at a New Year’s Eve party in Thessaloniki after her drink was spiked said it was consensual, reacting to her accusation in a video interview.

Georgia Bika, who identified herself, said two of the alleged attackers were brothers in the Levendis family that runs the London-based International Foundation for Greece (IFG) and he sent a statement to Greece’s ANT1 denying her charge.

He said he should be considered innocent while insisting any sexual act was with her approval as prosecutors are investigating the case which has brought added fury to the #MeToo movement about sexual harassment and rape.

He said her version, which she gave in an interview with a journalist after saying police were slow to react to her claim – including that a lawyer for a defendant threatened her – “does not serve the right to information nor the social interest.”

“I feel the need to state, in the most categorical way, that I never committed ‘rape’ against the complainant since the physical contact took place with her total knowledge, awareness and consent,” he added.

The case broadened after Kathimerini said that it may be tied to a sex trafficking ring on Cyprus said to provide women for parties and that the wealthy, celebrities and athletes were involved.

The Financial Mirror reported that officials there will investigate those reports on the request of a lawmaker, Christos Christofides, after reports implicating influential business people with a Cyprus link.

A businessman arrested in the case is reportedly related to a wealthy Greek Cypriot-family, the report said, as he sent a letter to Attorney-General George Savvides that said, “Allegations of a serious sex crime have been made public in Greece, which, as reported, involve women being drugged and raped.”

Chrisstofides pointed to a well-known social media activist who has played a key role in uncovering sexual abuse cases in Greece, Ilias Gionis, said to have blown the whistle on the case although it was reported to police.

Bika said she was at a club in Thessaloniki when she was approached by the owner of the club, who told her it was about to close at 2 a.m. due to COVID-19 restrictions – although clubs were supposed to close at midnignt.

She said he told her that a group of some 25 people would be heading to a hotel where they would continue partying and she said one of the guests spiked her drink to make her unconscious.

Gionis claimed that a circuit in Greece of the wealthy and well-connected, including reality show performers wanted women and that they were scouted on social media.

“Once they spot the women they fancy, they send them invites to parties, putting in motion their plans,” said Gionis, the report said, adding that a similar organized group operates on Cyprus.

Savvides said: “If and when information and evidence emerge implicating Cyprus in crimes of a sexual nature, investigating authorities will be taking action.” Gionis is willing to talk to Cyprus authorities and provide any evidence regarding Cypriot involvement in the sex trafficking ring.

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