NEWS

New evidence surfaces

The prime minister’s office forwarded a copy of the DVD allegedly used to blackmail former Culture Ministry General Secretary Christos Zachopoulos to a prosecutor a day after the official attempted to kill himself, it was revealed yesterday. The existence of the footage would appear to back up the claims made by Zachopoulos’s friends that the official was being blackmailed by a former colleague with whom he allegedly had an extramarital affair. Evi Tsekou, the 35-year-old woman concerned, denies the allegations. She was yesterday remanded in custody in Korydallos Prison on charges of blackmail and driving Zachopoulos to try to take his own life. The office of Premier Costas Karamanlis confirmed yesterday that it sent the DVD to prosecutor Giorgos Koliocostas last Friday, less than 24 hours after Zachopoulos jumped from his fourth-floor apartment. The contents of the DVD were not revealed, although it is thought to contain material of a sexual nature. The prime minister’s office said it got hold of the disc from journalists without giving further details. It is alleged that Tsekou approached journalists with the contents of the DVD but she denies doing so. Government sources are insistent that the Zachopoulos affair is a private matter and that there are no political ramifications. However, questions are being asked about whether there are any links to Zachopoulos’s position at the ministry, where he handled most of the finances. Koliocostas has ordered an investigation into the handling of the ministry’s finances as well as the delisting of protected archaeological sites. Zachopoulos is thought to have handled more than 200 such cases, where the strict restrictions on construction in certain areas were lifted. The 54-year-old was still in critical condition last night. Doctors at Evangelismos Hospital are concerned that he is entering a period when he could be vulnerable to infections.