NEWS

More Kokkalis charges

Eight days after businessman Socrates Kokkalis was charged with six felonies ranging from espionage to bribery, four more charges were filed against him by a prosecutor yesterday, including a felony charge of criminal fraud. The extra charge of criminal fraud alleges that he misled investors in not using money raised from share capital increases in his companies Intracom, Intralot and Instrasoft for the ends he had declared in 2000. The misdemeanors concern breach of faith, violation of stock market regulations and violating the law governing listed companies. The criminal fraud charge, which concerns 164.5 billion drachmas (483 million euros) that were not used by the deadline of the end of 2000 for the aims that had been announced, was brought after a probe by the Finance Ministry’s crime squad (SDOE) and prosecutor Dimitris Asprogerakas. SDOE passed its findings on to Asprogerakas about three months ago and he announced yesterday that he was filing charges against Kokkalis. Kokkalis reportedly said in his testimony during the investigation that he believed he had had up to 2004 to carry out the investment program. He also said that all his actions had been approved by the board of directors and general assembly of the companies. Investigating magistrate Maria Simitzi is expected to summon Kokkalis, the members of the companies’ boards and of the Capital Market Commission to testify. Meanwhile, Kathimerini today reveals the testimony of a senior official of the now-defunct East German secret service to a German parliamentary committee that wrapped up its investigation in 1998. Rudolf Dietmar Bauer, who was an associate director of a department of state security, testified that one of his colleagues had shown him a memorandum indicating that the East German Ministry of State Security was pressing Kokkalis and wanted to use him for information because he had easy access to the then-prime minister of Greece, Andreas Papandreou, the New Democracy party, the Communist Party and the Hellenic Telecommunications Organization. Bauer said that he and other agents had met with Kokkalis during the latter’s visits to East Germany in September or October 1985 and in early 1986. He said they spoke for several hours each time. Among the issues the East Germans were interested in, in light of an impending visit to Greece by their president, Erich Honecker, were: Greece’s role in NATO (including the dispute with Turkey over Cyprus), Greece’s role in the Balkans and the alignment of political forces in Greece. «We could understand the political situation in Greece better, which could help him (Kokkalis) to expand his business exchanges with East Germany,» Bauer said. He stressed that Kokkalis had been used in operation Krokus as a contact to be exploited and not as a «source.» He also said that «Kokkalis never got money from us in any form.»