NEWS

Ex-minister submits evidence of threats from SYRIZA cadres

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Former citizens’ protection minister Yiannis Panousis sparked a political storm on Monday after submitting to a top Greek prosecutor evidence which, he said, backed his claim that he was threatened by officials of leftist SYRIZA with connections to terrorists while serving in the previous cabinet.

Speaking to reporters after his meeting with Supreme Court prosecutor Efterpi Koutzamani on Monday, Panousis said he had given the names of those alleged to have threatened him. Panousis told reporters he believed the evidence he provided would lead to criminal charges.

Koutzamani is expected to decide on Tuesday or Wednesday on whether to probe Panousis’s claims.

Panousis subsequently visited Greece’s corruption prosecutors and, according to sources, submitted further material that he alleged points to corrupt ties between SYRIZA and the police force, which he oversaw during his stint as public order minister.

According to sources, Panousis pointed to the alleged involvement of members of the police’s immigration department in migrant smuggling rackets.

The government sought to play down Panousis’s claims on Monday. Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos indicated that he had not fully grasped the substance of Panousis’s allegations, noting that he was confused as the media report that revealed the ex-minister’s claims also featured extracts from an upcoming crime thriller that Panousis aims to publish.

Paraskevopoulos claimed that he has also received threats but is not worried about them as he has police protection.