Ex-TT chief alleges political persecution

Filippidis claims he was targeted due to ties to former PM Karamanlis

Angelos Filippidis, the former head of Hellenic Postbank who faces charges of fraud and money laundering in Greece but was released by a Turkish court considering his extradition request on Monday, has claimed to be a victim of political persecution due to alleged ties with former conservative Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis.

The decision by the Istanbul court sets out the arguments put forward by Filippidis and his lawyer, with the latter suggesting that Greek authorities were trying to harm Karamanlis through their efforts to prosecute the ex-bank chief. The lawyer added that Filippidis was “a close friend of Karamanlis.”

Sources close to Karamanlis sought to distance the former premier from Filippidis’s claims Tuesday. “Mr Karamanlis has absolute trust in the Greek justice system and its representatives,” one said, adding that “the former prime minister finds it hard to imagine that there could be political motives behind the cases being investigated by the judiciary.”

According to sources, Greek prosecutors regard as “utterly false and groundless” the arguments put forward by Filippidis and have asked Turkish authorities to rearrest him.

Monday’s decision by the Turkish court is a response to the first of two Greek requests for the extradition of Filippidis, who was arrested in Istanbul on January 10. The court is to hear a second extradition request issued by Greek prosecutors after new evidence in the TT unsecured loans probe came to light.