Damning claims made against former minister
Testifying before the Parliament committee probing the handling of the Novartis case by the previous government, Greek-Israeli businessman Sabby Mionis accused former alternate justice minister Dimitris Papangelopoulos, the publisher of the Dimokratia newspaper, Ioannis Filippakis, and two journalists of blackmail in 2016.
The incident supposedly occurred after Filippakis’ Dimokratia newspaper had implicated Mionis in the so-called Lagarde list of depositors with savings in a Swiss branch of HSBC.
According to reports, Mionis said that Papangelopoulos had asked for a bribe of 350,000 euros to close the case.
The businessman, who announced he was filing a lawsuit against Papangelopoulos, Filippakis and the two journalists, also said that there had also been an attempt at a compromise between himself and Filippakis in 2013, when Antonis Samaras was prime minister.
Sources from SYRIZA said the attempt for a settlement was made after “a request by the Israeli government.”
In a statement, Filippakis said that Mionis “gave unreliable testimony, as he has done for seven years,” because Dimokratia had implicated the Greek-Israeli businessman in the Lagarde list. Filippakis said the list showed that “Mionis controlled or managed, directly or indirectly, 55 percent of deposits amounting to more that 1 billion US dollars.”
Filippakis also warned that he will take legal action against Mionis.
Filppakis dismissed Mionis’ claim that he was blackmailed.
“He has tried to present the effort [among many] for an out-of-court settlement between private individuals as a supposed bribery and blackmail attempt,” Filippakis said, adding that both the governments of New Democracy and SYRIZA had taken part in the effort for an out-of-court settlement.
In his statement, the publisher also said that until the national elections in July 2019, Mionis had said nothing about Papangelopoulos and that he had even filed a lawsuit in Israel against the New Democracy’s Makis Voridis, currently the minister of agricultural development, with similar charges of blackmail. However, Israeli authorities dismissed his claims.