The Athens Prosecutor’s Office has ordered a preliminary investigation in the wake of a front-page story in the Efimerida ton Syntakton newspaper which claimed that Deputy Civil Protection Minister Nikos Hardalias had granted permission to the Turkish basketball team Fenerbahce, including players who had a fever, to bypass coronavirus safety protocols when entering Greece last October for a Euroleague match.
Hardalias on Wednesday vehemently denied the claim and announced a lawsuit against the paper, calling on the writer of the story and the editor in chief to provide evidence backing the claims.
Hardalias said in an announcement that neither he nor any of his colleagues at the Civil Protection Agency had knowledge that four members of the team that traveled to Greece for a Euroleague match were allowed into the country even though they had possible symptoms of Covid-19.
The team arrived, he said, on a special charter flight and was subjected to all the required checks for entry into Greece, in accordance with Euroleague and FIBA protocols. These checks, he noted, did not include a temperature check.
He stressed that the Civil Protection Agency was only involved to allow the flight from Turkey during a travel ban.
In an announcement, SYRIZA demanded that Hardalias be sacked.