Zachopoulos scandal a ?plot against ex-PM?

The former general secretary of the Culture Ministry, Christos Zachopoulos, who attempted suicide in 2007 after a ministry employee allegedly tried to blackmail him over their affair, told a court on Tuesday that he had been embroiled in a foreign-backed plot aimed at bringing down the then conservative government of Costas Karamanlis.

In testimony that opened the trial of former ministry employee Evi Tsekou, as well as publisher Themos Anastasiadis, another journalist and a lawyer implicated in the case, Zachopoulos claimed that Tsekou had approached him as part of a plot ?not only to harm me but to cause broader political damage.? ?I believe the Karamanlis government was targeted by domestic and foreign interests that wanted to harm it,? he said.

The ex-official claimed that Tsekou demanded 200,000 euros in exchange for her not releasing a DVD containing footage of their private encounters. He said he had considered resigning before deciding to attempt suicide.

The trial is to resume on June 26.