Zahopoulos Scandal Unveils Entangled Relationship between Politician, Journalists and Businessmen
Athens.- Political wrangle between political parties on Zahopoulosʼ case heats up. Legal investigation taking place this coming week is considered crucial. Journalist Themos Anastasiadis, is going to testify on his own on Monday as well as the lawyer, Nikos Nikolitsopoulos who seemed to have accompanied the 35 years old in TV stations and newspapers. Meantime, the conflict among “Proto Thema” newspaper editors, Makis Triantafyllopoulos and Themos Anastasiadis continues.
The Prime Minister, on answering question tabled by SYRIZA president Alekos Alavanos stated in Parliament on Friday that he is determined to conflict with corruption and to protect the credibility of political life. Mr. Alavanos said that a climate of corruption has been created and asked for the removal of the head of Special Controlsʼ Service Mr. Spyros Kladas.
The Prime Minister tried for once more to hold responsible for the scandal the Greek Justice, PASOK president George Papandreou said. In response to Mr. Papandreou, the government accused him for scandal talking and populism. KKE supported the view that the Prime Ministerʼs stance on the issue is directed by hypocrisy and disorientation.
Mr Th. Anastasiadisʼ testimony on Monday is expected to bring about developments. The judicial authorities have a clear picture on the course of the controversial DVD and what now remains is to fill in the last pieces of the puzzle.As per information, the Examiner knows that there have been telephone calls between Mr Yiannis Andrianos and the carrier-journalist.
Mr Zahopoulosʼ 35-year-old aide referred indirectly to who had probably seen and made the montage of the controversial DVD, after the Press had made public her photographs.
In his four-page article of the Sunday edition of the Proto Thema newspapaper, Mr Anastasiadis makes it clear that he is not the carrier of the DVD, attributing this scenario to a frame-up on behalf of publishing house interests, wishing to undermine Proto Thema
As per information the journalist will tell the Examiner Monday that he had received but not delivered the DVD. He may also speak about the role a Culture Ministry female employee.
Mr Anastasiadisʼ allegations as per which behind the ?5.5million was businessman Thanasis Laaskaridis, the businessman himself rejected.
The newspaper speaks of Mr Zahopoulosʼ communication with the Secret Intelligence on his aideʼs moves. In its announcement, the Secret Intelligence clarifies that the sole issue of discussion between Mr Zahopoulos and the Service was the combating of illegal trading in antiquities.
Arguing that the Government “neither blackmails nor is blackmailed,” Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis appeared set to conflict with corruption and with anything else that attacks both public interests and citizens. Answering an interpellation about the Zachopoulos case filed by SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) President Alekos Alavanos, Karamanlis underlined that Justice has undertaken to shed light to the case and blasted all those who had been attacking it lately. Alekos Alavanos spoke of corruption nourished by the disintegration of the two-party political system and held the Government politically responsible.
THE PRESIDENTʼS MAN
Zahopoulos has been a close friend of the current Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, several years ago, in Thessaloniki, when he was still being elected as member of the Greek Parliament. Zahopoulos was also a close friend of Natassa Pazaiti, now wife of the PM and using his connections, he helped her greatly with her ‘academic’ courses. When Kostas Karamanlis was elected Prime Minister, he also took control of the Ministry of Culture and appointed Zahopoulos as the General Secretary. Zahopoulos had immense power in the Ministry and in all successive reformations that took place in it, in the 5-year period that the political party of New Democracy has been in government, he has been tight in his position.
During all this period his behavior was provoking and many had warned the Prime Minister for his illegal actions. However, this was never going in public and Zahopoulos was completely covered by ‘higher above’. The Greek audience became aware of his existence in summer of 2007, during Greece’s huge fires, when he embarrassed himself when caught ignoring Cronius Hill (Κρόνιος Λόφος in Greek) as being a holy place of Olympia town. The Cronius Hill was destroyed by the fires and Zahopoulos was widely accepted as an incompetent, ignorant and almost dumb civil clerk.
Zahopoulos had love affairs with an employee inside the Ministry of Culture, Mrs. Evi Tsekou. Later it became known that he was repeatedly using his power to ask for sexual favors in return for employment, by female employees in the Ministry. After Zahopoulos’ suicide attempt, it became known that Mrs. Tsekou, was blackmailing him, threatening to expose their private intercourses written in DVD using a hidden camera. The Government tried to cover the case by equating the case to a typical sex scandal. But it was not…
The public became suspicious over why the secretary committed suicide only having been accused for an off-marriage sexual affair. The shocking truth was that, Mr. Andrianos, journalist in the Prime Minister’s office was in possession of the DVD, but the material that he handed to Justice (to investigate the blackmailing case)had been cut off! Of the total 40 minutes only 3 minutes arrived at Justice. Someone had obviously tampered with the original DVD. The Greek public opinion shouted: “Why the hell someone would process a DVD with sexual intercourse that is crime evidence. Are government officials responsible for this??”
There are many rumors about the content of the DVD. The only sure thing is that it is of great political significance. Zahopoulos is supposed to reveal many things about the Prime Minister, Kostas Karamanlis, both personal and political information. It is also said that Zahopoulos is referring to his wife, Natasa Pazaiti. It is also rumored that the Prime Minister himself, after watching the content, he demanded from Zahopoulos to ‘just disappear’. However, the scandal has been broadened to cover also the media lobby.
It was revealed that the DVD was handed over to the Government by a journalist. Many have accused Themos Anastasiadis, chief editor of a popular newspaper, as being the journalist that gave away the disc. His prime work partner, Makis Triantafyllopoulos has accused him of making a deal with the government in order to stop tax controls on one of Mr. Anastasiadis’ ‘obscure’ bank accounts. Mr. Anastasiadis has refused any possible participation in the case and has claimed that he has been blackmailed by others on this matter and that several months earlier informed the Police about the case. Mr. Andrianos, the journalist in PM’s office that took the DVD, testified to Justice, and informed the interrogators about the journalist’s identity and has made public that the journalist has been close friends, from University, with one of Evi Tsekou’s former lawyer. Mr. Anastasiadis fits the profile but he denies all accusations and claims he is being ‘hunted’ by government officials and close media (interesting ‘details’: Anastasiadis’ newspaper has revealed many government scandals over the years and recently obliged Greek Minister Mr. Magginas to resign from his position)
The story has yet a long way to go. Greek public opinion seems disappointed and disgusted about the huge corruption that comes to light. Whatever the end might be, it is sure that great political transforms will happen over the following months (political parties will be teared apart and new political forces will emerge)