Independent Greeks leader backs MP’s bribery claims, threatens to release video [Update]

At an emergency press conference on Friday, Independent Greeks leader Panos Kammenos backed allegations by his MP Pavlos Haikalis according to which a middleman tried to bribe the latter to vote for the coalition’s candidate for president.

Kammenos said Haikalis informed a prosecutor on December 6 of the alleged bribery attempt. He said the party had not revealed this action earlier so as not to obstruct the prosecutor’s investigation. He said his party would forward audio and video footage allegedly showing the attempted bribe to parliamentary speaker Vangelos Meimarakis and Justice Minister Haralambos Athanasiou. If Meimarakis and Athanasiou refuse to make the video public, on the grounds of violating individual privacy rights for instance, Kammenos said his party would release the material before the third round of presidential elections on December 29.

Kammenos claimed that the alleged bribe intermediary had worked as consultant for Deutsche Bank before working for Piraeus Bank until July 2014. The party leader also claimed that he had met the individual in question at Samaras’ office when he had been in New Democracy.

The man who allegedly tried to bribe Haikalis is also said to have claimed that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras would telephone him subsequently and allow him to join a new party that is to be created.

Haikalis is said to have visited the prosecutor twice — on December 6 and 12 — each time with a DVD purportedly showing conversations with the alleged mediator. The MP did not name the mediator to the prosecutor though he is said to have told police who he was.

A subsequent meeting set up by police to arrest the alleged mediator in the act of handing over the money did not go ahead after the mediator called it off, Kammenos said, suggesting that the latter had realized the authorities were on to him.