NEWS

Claims of secret CIA grilling

A Greek businessman claimed yesterday that he had been interrogated in connection with a business trip to Iraq by Bulgarian authorities and then CIA officers while he was living in Sofia in July 2004. Vassilis Katsikeas, the former head of the Foundation for Mediterranean Cooperation (FMC), a non-governmental organization, confirmed the allegation which was published in the Pontiki weekly newspaper. Katsikeas had Arab contacts and his wife had visited Iraq several times. Foreign Ministry spokes-man Giorgos Koumoutsakos said yesterday Athens was aware of the matter and the Greek Embassy had been following it closely. He later said that the Foreign Ministry has never been informed about the abduction and interrogation of Greeks by foreign secret services. Meanwhile, Katsikeas said that he has instructed a lawyer to act on his behalf in the probe into phone tapping. His lawyer said that two of the phone numbers on the list of those tapped belonged to FMC and were used by Katsikeas and his wife.