‘Rocco’ the secret agent

Investigating magistrate Giorgos Pournaras was appointed yesterday to look into the felony charges filed against businessman Socrates Kokkalis, who is accused of spying for East Germany, fraud, money laundering, embezzlement and giving and taking bribes. Meanwhile, the findings of a German parliamentary investigation into Kokkalis’s dealings with the security apparatus of the former East Germany, where Kokkalis studied, state that Kokkalis was officially an agent of the East German secret service from 1963 to 1968 and then continued to be a source of information to the East Germans until the fall of the Berlin Wall. When the charges were made public by Prosecutor Dimitris Papangelopoulos on Tuesday, Kokkalis declared that they were totally groundless and were the work of political enemies. The charge that he spied against Greece for East Germany, in particular, angered him. This charge has been made repeatedly by conservative New Democracy party MP Panos Kammenos. «Regarding the charge of my so-called espionage, which hurts me deeply as a person and as a Greek citizen, and which claim has been made before by the same politician and been examined by the judicial authorities, I declare that I will take action against anyone responsible for this new sullying of my name and honor,» he said in a statement on Tuesday. The findings of a German parliamentary investigation into Kokkalis’s activities, which was concluded on May 28, 1998, and released to the public about six months ago, presented details of Kokkalis’s dealings with the East German security apparatus. It did not conclude, however, whether Kokkalis had worked with the East Germans to set up his company Intracom. «Socrates Kokkalis became a secret informer of the Ministry of State Security (MFS) in January 1963, with the code name Rocco,» the report said. «Until his return to Greece in 1965, Kokkalis regularly informed the service regarding his circle of acquaintances and especially his contacts, which were determined by his service. After his return to Greece, he terminated his contract with the Ministry of State Security and, by a decision of December 11, 1968, his file as a secret agent was closed. «However, because of his close business ties with East Germany during the next years and up to the fall (of the Berlin Wall), and also because of his contacts with prominent Greek politicians, Socrates Kokkalis remained under continual supervision by the MFS. Through his closest colleague in East Germany, the manager of AHB Elekrotechnik Export-Import, Dr Roland Winckler, with the code name Peter Schumann, Kokkalis was the source of information regarding the political and economic developments in Greece.» The report said also that in 1984 the MFS organized operations «Kaskade» and «Kaskadeur» against Kokkalis, over allegations that a former manager of AHB Elekrotechnik had been bribed by Kokkalis to provide him with information. The «Kaskade» operation found payments of $255,000 from 1984-87. The aim of the operation, the report said, was to enable the MFS to cooperate with Kokkalis. But there was no evidence that Kokkalis undertook to be a secret agent, it said. Evidence was not found to prove that Kokkalis and East Germany had set up a joint company, the report said, though it noted that «there is a complete absence of documents or references providing any explanation for the failure of such a grand scheme.» It suggested that perhaps some documents had not been declassified at the time of the parliamentary probe. Directed by John Swanbeck, starring Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito, Peter Facinelli. Confessions of three industrial lubricant salesmen attending the Midwest Manufacturers’ Annual Convention in Wichita, Kansas. Comedy based on the play «Hospitality Suite.»

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