NEWS

Probe into Panousis claims in the offing

probe-into-panousis-claims-in-the-offing

Supreme Court prosecutor Efterpi Koutzamani is expected to decide as soon as Wednesday to order an investigation into claims by former citizens’ protection minister Yiannis Panousis that he was threatened by SYRIZA cadres with links to terrorists.

The probe is likely to be entrusted to a top-ranking Supreme Court official, probably a deputy prosecutor due to the seriousness of the claims, which have prompted a political storm.

Meanwhile, Parliament’s Institutions and Transparency Committee has decided to summon Panousis as well as the head of the National Intelligence Service (EYP), Yiannis Roubatis, to testify in connection with the former’s claims that he was threatened by officials.

Roubatis is being called as the evidence submitted by Panousis to Koutzamani is said to include telephone conversations that were wiretapped by EYP.

During a session of the committee on Tuesday, opposition MPs also insisted that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras address the House’s plenary session on the matter by the end of the week.

Government officials continued to attempt to play down Panousis’s claims on Tuesday with some underlining the fact that they were made alongside the publication of extracts from his yet-to-be-published crime thriller.

Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos found it harder to keep his distance, however, following the implication in the affair of his former adviser, Panos Lambrou.

According to Panousis, Lambrou is allegedly one of the SYRIZA officials with ties to terrorists. An adviser to Paraskevopoulos until August, Lambrou is now part of a task force aimed at boosting health services in Greek prisons, Paraskevopoulos said on Tuesday.

Lambrou, who is alleged to have had contact with convicted members of the Conspiracy of the Cells of Fire guerrilla group, Tuesday admitted to speaking to inmates “without discrimination,” saying that was part of his job.

Separately, Alternate Minister for Citizens’ Protection Nikos Toskas yesterday decided to dismiss the head of the internal affairs department of the Greek Police (ELAS), Stavros Stavropoulos.

The reason for his removal was said to be part of a broader upgrading of the force. But the move has raised questions as it came a day after Panousis submitted to Greek corruption prosecutors another file with transcripts of telephone conversations suggesting the alleged involvement of police officers in human-smuggling rackets and of a scheme that had aimed to remove Panousis from his ministerial post.