Former chief of top court named in blackmail claim

Former chief of top court named in blackmail claim

A political storm is brewing over an audio file that has surfaced suggesting that former Supreme Court President Vassiliki Thanou, who had been appointed to her post by the then SYRIZA government, blackmailed prominent businessman Andreas Vgenopoulos for money back in 2016.

More specifically, the said audio file, published by the website on Thursday, includes a recorded conversation between Vgenopoulos and businesswoman Dimitra Maratou, who mediated on behalf of Thanou conveying requests for money, dubbed “books” and “libraries,” at a time when the businessman was caught up in a series of court cases. Thanou, who also served for a brief time as caretaker prime minister in 2015, also became a legal adviser to then prime minister Alexis Tsipras after leaving her post as Supreme Court president.

The allegations have emerged more than six years after Vgenopoulos had publicly claimed in 2016 during a press conference that he was being blackmailed by the politico-judicial system of the government at the time.

The audio file also indicates that Thanou, who was appointed head of the Competition Commission after her departure from the prime minister’s office, had started blackmailing Vgenopoulos even before she became president of the Supreme Court. 

For her part, Thanou on Wednesday denounced the allegations against her and hinted at the possibility of taking legal action against the publication over what she called slander that is being recycled. She noted that the allegations had been investigated by the Supreme Court Prosecutor’s Office and archived in 2016.

However, in the wake of the new alleged evidence, the Supreme Court Prosecutor’s Office is looking at the case again to ascertain whether there are newer data that will enable an investigation from scratch.

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