Probe clears Protopappas

Newspaper claims that Press Minister Christos Protopappas received illegal funding from a party-affiliated businessman and broke the law in building his new house and a holiday home are completely groundless and do not merit prosecution, according to the results of a judicial probe made public yesterday. Avriani daily alleged in April that Altec computer firm owner Athanassios Athanassoulis paid 200 million drachmas (587,000 euros) toward Protopappas’s 1996 electoral campaign. The paper also alleged that Protopappas’s houses in northern Athens and Lavrion were built with undeclared funds and violated building regulations. But a probe by prosecutor Ellie Toumbanidou found no grounds to press charges against the minister. Toumbanidou also decided to refer to Parliament for investigation the case of former Deputy Public Order Minister Vangelis Malesios who was sacked in April after Avriani revealed he had been living rent-free in a flat owned by Athanassoulis, who is involved in a 254-million-euro Olympic security deal.

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