NEWS

Serious charges are pressed after investigation of Socrates Kokkalis

The announcement on Tuesday of six felony charges against prominent businessman Socrates Kokkalis, including alleged espionage, fraud, embezzlement, money laundering and offering and taking bribes struck Greece’s political and economic circles like a thunderbolt. The news caused shock waves through the banking sector and stock market, where the index dropped by 1.74 percent. Kokkalis’s Intracom telecom company shares fell by 16.16 percent. Kokkalis is charged with espionage on behalf of the now-defunct East Germany (where Kokkalis grew up and studied) until 1989, first as an informer and then as an associate of the East German State Security Ministry’s espionage department (HVA-Mfs). Other charges involve the embezzlement of billions of drachmas worth of capital and defrauding Intracom shareholders by concealing income from Russian lottery contracts. It is likely that other Intracom group executives will also be implicated. The money-laundering charges are apparently related to offshore companies used, owned or controlled by Kokkalis as a clearing house for income from the Russian lottery contracts via tax havens such as Ireland, Switzerland and Cyprus.He is also accused of offering and taking bribes. It was never asked for by the Greek authorities, irrespective of the fact that the Stasi files were often referred to, within reports compiled by the Greek Police (ELAS), as the vital lead in the terrorist attack by the urban guerrilla group ELA against the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Athens in April 1983.