Journalist and publisher Costas Vaxevanis handed himself over to the police on Monday after the wife of Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras lodged a legal suit against him for slander over an article in his Documento newspaper accusing her of abusing her husband's influence to secure state funding for medical conferences.
After being briefly detained at Kallithea police station, Vaxevanis was released while a prosecutor ordered an investigation into the claims by Stavroula Nikolopoulou.
Nikolopoulou took the legal action on Sunday when the article appeared in Vaxevanis's newspaper. In a statement, Nikolopoulou described the article as defamatory and asked for Vaxevanis's arrest. "It demeans me as a professional when he alleges that I use my husband's influence to acquire 'jobs,'" she said.
In a statement, leftist SYRIZA described Nikolopoulou's suit as an "attack against journalism and freedom of speech." The article poses "certain crucial questions about the public health sector which demand serious and substantiated answers," the statement added.
The Documento article accused Stournaras of "following the cheap method of 'lecturing' at conferences organized by his spouse and sponsored by pharmaceutical industries, without honoring his institutional role or keeping up appearances."
It also alleged that Stournaras's family "has ties to" former defense minister Yannos Papantoniou who is under investigation for alleged kickbacks in connection with defense deals he signed.