Fire service investigator sues former boss for ‘attempted violence’ over 2018 wildfire report

Fire service investigator sues former boss for ‘attempted violence’ over 2018 wildfire report

A Greek Fire Service officer investigating the deadly July 23, 2018, wildfires in eastern Attica, sued the then head of the Fire Service, along with any accomplices or instigators for “attempted violence” against him, according to the lawsuit seen by Kathimerini.

In his suit, investigator Dimitris Liotsios, who was appointed by the First Instance Prosecutor’s office in 2018 to look into the case, details how former chief Fire Service chief Vassilis Matthaiopoulos tried to threaten and blackmail him into burying his findings. 

"His only aim was to force me in my capacity as appointed expert … by threatening to commit illegal acts, to draw up and submit to the competent investigating authorities a false report which would  be against scientific truth,” he says about Matthaiopoulos.

“The defendant … with illegal extortionate means tried to make me write a false report on the reasons of the fatal disaster on 23/7/18. He knew very well that during the performance of his duties he had to take every action to reveal the truth and not to try to obscure the reasons for which the fire spread, causing the deadly outcome.”

In a report on Sunday, Kathimerini presented evidence pointing to an effort by officials under the leftist-led government at the time to cover up the gross mishandling of the wildfire that cost more than 100 lives and resulted in devastating losses in the seaside town of Mati and other affected areas.

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