NEWS

As probe into video begins, prosecutors reject claims

An Athens prosecutor on Thursday launched an investigation into a video posted on the Internet on Wednesday showing former cabinet secretary Panayiotis Baltakos appearing to accuse Prime Minister Antonis Samaras of trying to influence a judicial probe into the neofascist Golden Dawn.

The prosecutor, Calliope Dagianta, is to investigate the circumstances leading to the making of the video, which GD spokesman Ilias Kasidiaris said he secretly recorded. Baltakos, who claims to have lied to Kasidiaris to learn about GD’s workings and because the neofascist party had “pressured” him, is to give Dagianta his side of the story on Monday. The prosecutor has also asked for the minutes from Parliament on Wednesday, when Kasidiaris revealed the existence of the video. Making an using illegal recordings is a crime that can lead to several years in prison.

Meanwhile, following the upheaval caused in the judiciary by suggestions in the videotape that the judiciary is subject to political influence, the union representing the country’s judges and prosecutors dismissed the claims as “groundless insinuations.” In a statement late on Wednesday, Supreme Court prosecutor Efterpi Koutzamani had also dismissed the claims, claiming to have “acted on the basis of evidence and the law.”

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