Corruption charges issued

In one of the country’s largest corruption cases, a Competition Commission director was charged with blackmail yesterday after he allegedly asked for a 2.5-million-euro bribe from a company under investigation. Panayiotis Adamopoulos was charged with blackmail and lesser bribery charges after dairy company Mevgal informed the head of the commission, Spyros Zisimopoulos, of the alleged plot. Two of Adamopoulos’s alleged accomplices, merchant Constantinos Constantinidis and customs official Panayiotis Anagnostopoulos, were also charged with blackmail and accepting bribes. According to Mevgal, Anagnostopoulos allegedly threatened the company with a fine of 25 million euros unless it paid a bribe. Police sources said that Adamopoulos, who has been suspended from his position, has denied any wrongdoing. Authorities added that an investigation has been launched into all affairs handled by him since he took up his position in November 2005. As the conservative government continues to stress its zero tolerance of corruption, senior officials said that policies against graft are being put into action. «Those responsible will face the consequences when they breach the law,» said Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas. PASOK, on the other hand, described the incident as proof that corruption in Greece is on the rise. It appears state inspection teams will be kept busy as evidence emerged yesterday concerning allegations from pharmaceutical companies that supply tenders to state hospitals are «rigged.» Sources said that complaints received by the National Pharmaceutical Organization will be looked into by Health Ministry inspectors who will determine whether the proper procedures were followed.