Greek shipping magnate Vangelis Marinakis claimed in a radio interview on Thursday that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Digital Policy Minister Nikos Pappas had asked him to pay the first instalment of a TV license fee on behalf of another businessman who was reportedly on good terms with the government.
Marinakis, who owns Nottingham Forest FC and Greek club Olympiakos, had won one of the four TV licenses that were auctioned off in 2016 for his new broadcaster Alter Ego.
The businessman told Real FM that he was asked by Pappas to pay 26.3 million euros, in the form of a loan, to Christos Kalogritsas, whose son Yiannis had also won one of the TV licenses in the first round of the auction. The money was to go towards the first instalment of the licence fee.
Marinakis said he met with Kalogritsas and explained to him that he couldn't give him the loan.
Yiannis Kalogritsas eventually withdrew from the tender as he was unable to pay the first tranche.
Marinakis also commented on governing SYRIZA's candidate for the European Parliament, Petros Kokkalis, saying it “makes sense” for him to be in the leftist party's ticket because his family “has business” with the government.
The office of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras vehemently rejected the accusations, attributing them to match-fixing charges faced by the tycoon and to the alleged implication in the Noor 1 affair.
“His belated so-called revelations, ahead of elections, have the credibility afforded by his life and times,” Tsipras' office said in a press release and described Marinakis as “the real leader” of main opposition New Democracy.
On his side, Kokkalis called Marinakis a “liar” adding he was “shocked by the way Marinakis understands participation in public life.”
Earlier on Thursday, New Democracy had called on the government to respond to the accusations.