Anti-gambling MP’s luck runs out

A socialist MP who chairs a parliamentary committee against illegal gambling was thrown out of PASOK’s parliamentary group yesterday, following a public screening of a video showing him trying his luck on an unlicensed slot machine. PASOK issued a statement saying Prime Minister Costas Simitis had expelled Alexandros Chryssanthakopoulos following a briefing by the party’s parliamentary secretary, Cosmas Sfyriou, who had investigated the issue. This followed the screening, on Thursday night, of a program by Alpha channel’s Makis Triandaphyllopoulos that showed Chryssanthakopoulos working the illegal slot machine in a Patras video arcade. The MP, a member of PASOK’s occasionally voluble nationalist rebel group who is elected in the Patras area, chairs the parliamentary committee against illegal gambling set up in February 2001. Earlier, government spokesman Christos Protopappas washed his hands of Chryssanthakopoulos, saying that commenting on the «particularly sorry incident» falls outside his brief. The MP claimed Triandaphyllopoulos, Alpha’s chief dirt-digger, had «tricked» him. Chryssanthakopoulos said the journalist had used an off-the-record chat of theirs to present him as urging Triandaphyllopoulos not to publish the video, in return for «exclusive government information» on illegal gambling. He said his consent had not been sought – or granted. And he accused Triandaphyllopoulos of «distorting the off-the-record comments» by tampering with the tapes.Gambling is only legal in casinos.

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