Extortion: 2nd bishop testifies

A second bishop testified yesterday before a prosecutor investigating claims that journalists and publishers blackmailed leading industrialists and churchmen by threatening to publish defamatory stories on them. Sources close to the investigation said Bishop Chrysostomos of Zakynthos told prosecutor Dimitrios Papangelopoulos he had been blackmailed by one publisher and two journalists covering religious affairs in the runup to the April 1998 elections for the head of the Church of Greece, in which he was a candidate. On Friday, another leading candidate for the archbishopric of Athens, Hieronymos, bishop of Thebes, testified in the investigation sparked by claims by industrialist Theodoros Angelopoulos that his uncle had been blackmailed by the publisher of a small extreme right-wing daily. Angelopoulos’s wife, Gianna, heads the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee. Yesterday, Giorgos Trangas, publisher of the small right-wing Hora daily, sued a former employee of his who claimed Trangas had encouraged him to blackmail Hieronymos in 1998.