A top-ranking prosecutor on Wednesday launched an investigation into claims that entrepreneurs close to the government were gathering money to bribe MPs into backing the coalition’s candidate for crucial presidential elections early next year.
Deputy appeals court prosecutor Panos Panagiotopoulos started his probe on Wednesday by calling Emilios Liatsos, editor of the Kontra News daily, over a recent report alleging the existence of a ring of entrepreneurs preparing to bribe MPs. After his testimony, Liatsos cited the right to protect his sources but defended the report.
Panagiotopoulos, who last year prosecuted former Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos for money laundering, is on Thursday to summon leftist SYRIZA’s spokesman Panos Skourletis, who repeated the newspaper’s claims earlier this week. According to sources, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras is to be called next week, as is Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos, who also suggested that MPs were being pressured to back the coalition’s candidate for president.
Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, SYRIZA MP Zoe Constantopoulou said Prime Minister Antonis Samaras should be called on to explain which MPs, apart from the coalition’s 155, will support the government’s candidate.
Commenting, PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos accused SYRIZA of attempting a “Stalinist-type pre-emptive slander” of MPs.