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Politics

SYRIZA Ex-Minister Facing Court Over TV License Scheme

ATHENS – Nikos Pappas, a former minister to the then-ruling Radical Left SYRIZA and top advisor to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will have to appear before a special court looking into the awarding of TV licenses in 2016.

That came on a decision from the Supreme Court’s Judicial Council after critics of the scheme said it was aimed at stifling independent media and awarding licenses to stations and owners favorable to SYRIZA.

The court won’t convene until the autumn, said Kathimerini, reporting that Pappas, who served as minister of digital policy, telecommunications and media from November 2016 to July 2019, will have to answer to charges of dereliction of duty before a panel of judges from the Supreme Court and the Council of State, the country’s highest administrative court.

A businessman, Christos Kalogritsas, will also be summonsed to answer reports that he got backing from Pappas to be a straw man in getting a TV license as part of a plan to endorse a pro-government broadcaser, the report added.

Pappas’ immunity from prosecution was lifted by Parliament after Kalogrisas indicated that Pappas arranged for a 3-million euro ($3.13 million) downpayment to make him eligible for the TV license.

He had told an inquiry into the tender that he was willing to face criminal charges if it meant clearing his name and restoring his reputation. Pappas has denied all the charges although the case is proceeding.

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