NEWS

Hospital chief faces magistrate, rebuffs blackmail claims

The head of the Aglaia Kyriakou children’s hospital in Athens, who was arrested on Christmas Eve for allegedly demanding a 25,000-euro bribe from a supplier, faced a magistrate on Saturday evening.

Haris Tombouloglou has denied charges of blackmail and bribe taking, referring to a “frame-up,” and has described the 25,000 euros he is alleged to have sought from an advertising firm as “a donation.” But photos emerged over the weekend showing him pocketing an envelope. The photos followed the leaking of a recorded conversation between the 55-year-old and an alleged intermediary in which Tombouloglou can be heard threatening to cancel the tender for a 190,000-euro program to combat child obesity that the firm won in early 2013.

A 40-year-old man has been charged as an accomplice in the affair which led to Tombouloglou being ousted from conservative New Democracy and from the chair of the hospital’s board of directors.