NEWS

Tsipras covers ex-ministers, slams government

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In the wake of claims pointing to corruption in the ranks of the previous leftist government, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday sought to cover two of his former ministers, Nikos Pappas and Dimitris Papangelopoulos, accusing the conservative government of “using mafia tactics.”

Tsipras’ comments came after government spokesman Stelios Petsas called on the leftist leader to eject Pappas from SYRIZA’s parliamentary group following the submission to a parliamentary committee by Greek-Israeli businessman Sabby Mionis of an audio tape of a conversation he had with Pappas in which the latter suggests that Papangelopoulos, a former alternate justice minister, had his “own agenda” and was “making a lot of money” from backroom deals.

A prosecutor is to determine whether Pappas should be investigated for perjury before the committee, which is examining whether Papangelopoulos influenced the course of the Novartis bribery investigation. 

Meanwhile, a report by the National Intelligence Service (EYP) in 2016 suggested that high-ranking officials of the former leftist administration leaked the contents of an EYP investigation into police corruption in an apparent attempt to protect a government MP and a businessman being probed. 

The report refers to a briefing in April 2016 of Tsipras, then premier, and then Parliament speaker Nikos Voutsis, on the probe. It also refers to conversations between the late businessman Dimitris Malamas and an MP of right-wing Independent Greeks (ANEL) with which SYRIZA was in a coalition.

Those conversations related to how the ANEL MP could help secure contracts for Malamas to supply migrant reception centers and run Parliament’s café. 

According to the report, the MP called Malamas after the meeting to tell him that their activity had been exposed, after which the subjects being probed stopped using their cellphones. 

Malamas, who was gunned down in Haidari in 2019, is believed to have had strong links to the police and to have provided protection to hundreds of casinos and brothels.