Zachopoulos probe gathers momentum minister

Former Culture Minister Petros Tatoulis and journalist Makis Triantafyllopoulos were questioned yesterday by the magistrate investigating the Zachopoulos case as the probe picks up pace. Tatoulis was giving evidence with regard to his tenure at the ministry as he had been critical of the role of former General Secretary Christos Zachopoulos. However, most attention was focused on Triantafyllopoulos, who was called in for questioning following his public row with the fellow owner of the Proto Thema newspaper, Themos Anastasiadis. Triantafyllopoulos claims that Anastasiadis was being investigated by the Financial Crimes Squad in connection to a deposit of some 5 million euros in a French bank account. He also alleged that a New Democracy MP approached him asking for the newspaper to stop mentioning the current head of the service, and former Culture Ministry official, Spyros Kladas, in connection to the Zachopoulos case in return for the probe into Anastasiadis being dropped. Triantafyllopoulos has also hinted he thinks Anastasiadis handed the government the secretly filmed DVD that shows Zachopoulos having an affair with his assistant. The prime minister’s press secretary, Yiannis Andrianou, revealed to the magistrate on Monday who had given him the DVD but the government rejected claims yesterday that it had also submitted secretly shot photographs of the meeting. «These are not methods that the prime minister’s press office uses,» said government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos. The government was less sure about how to deal with the deputy who allegedly approached the journalist. The MP has not been named so the government is unlikely to censure him or her at this point. Meanwhile, current Culture Minister Michalis Liapis appeared before a parliamentary committee that will hear from all the heads of the ministry dating back to 1996 as it examines possible corruption at the department. During a stormy session, PASOK MPs demanded that Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, who also served as culture minister in the runup to the Athens Olympics, should also appear before the committee. The government dismissed the idea.