Businessman accuses ex-minister of being behind judicial harassment

Businessman accuses ex-minister of being behind judicial harassment

A prominent Greek-Israeli businessman submitted written testimony to a parliamentary committee investigating a minister under the former SYRIZA government, claiming that he had been harassed by judicial officials for failing to pay a bribe to the ex-politician.

In his letter, Sabby Mionis claims that officials from the corruption prosecutor’s office conducted unjustified audits and raid against him, his businesses and his family after he failed to respond to what he understood to be a demand for a bribe from alternate justice minister Dimitris Papangelopoulos in 2016. One of these raids, he said, was on the home of his elderly parents, on the eve of the Jewish Passover holiday, 38 days after he refused the minister’s overtures.

In previous statements, Mionis claimed that Papangelopoulos had demanded cash to shelve an investigation into the businessman’s finances after his name allegedly appeared on the infamous Lagarde list of Greeks with sizable deposits abroad.

In the recent letter, he indicated that the audits and raids were headed by corruption prosecutor Eleni Touloupaki, who is one of the judicial officials implicated in the ongoing parliamentary investigation.

The case before the parliamentary panel concerns claims that Papangelopoulos used his position in the Justice Ministry to influence Touloupaki and other judicial officials in their handling of an investigation into witness allegations that 10 prominent politicians had accepted bribes from the Swiss pharmaceutical firm Novartis.

Mionis also claimed in his letter, made public on Monday, that he has a recording of a telephone conversation with Nikos Pappas, in which the prominent SYRIZA government member is said to state that Papangelopoulos was known for having his “own agenda” and “making a lot of money” from backroom deals, or “outsourcing.”

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