Independent Greeks MP claims bribe attempt

Independent Greeks MP Stavroula Xoulidou told a Supreme Court prosecutor Thursday that someone claiming to be a New Democracy member approached her via Facebook and offered her up to 3 million euros to vote for the government’s choice of presidential candidate in February.

Xoulidou claimed that a man called Giorgos Soukouris approached her in March for the first time and that in September he started suggesting that New Democracy would be willing to pay for her vote. He also made reference to fellow Independent Greeks MP Panayiotis Melas, suggesting that he had been bribed. Melas recently refused to back the party line, which is to oppose any presidential candidate put forward by the government.

Xoulidou, who provided copies of all the messages she received from Soukouris, said that she did not go to authorities straight away as she feared that they would notify the government and that the matter would be covered up. The MP allegedly made two attempts to lure Soukouris to her office to secretly record him but he insisted on meeting in public. Soukouris allegedly claimed to be close to New Democracy’s parliamentary spokesman Adonis Georgiadis and Deputy Development Minister Notis Mitarakis.

New Democracy denies that Soukouris is a member of the party, while Georgiadis and Mitarakis said that they do not know him. Both said they might take legal action.

Melas also appeared before the prosecutor to deny the claims that he had been bribed. He told journalists afterward that the allegations were “disgusting and dirty.”

The prosecutor asked Thursday for Soukouris’s phone records and for the electronic crimes squad to investigate the Facebook exchanges.

A recent probe into claims that businessmen were preparing a fund to be used to bribe MPs so they would vote for the government’s presidential candidate failed to find any evidence and was shelved.

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