ND backs MP tied to bribery claims

The government yesterday cautiously defended a New Democracy deputy, Costas Koukodimos, who has been implicated in a suspicious financial transaction linked to the growing Zachopoulos scandal. «I am obliged to accept the word of a member of Parliament unless evidence emerges that refutes what he has said,» said the leader of ND’s parliamentary group, Yiannis Tragakis. Tragakis was responding to a letter from Koukodimos, which he said he saw yesterday morning but whose contents had been made known on Thursday night during a television show by journalist Makis Triantafyllopoulos. In the letter Koukodimos admits to visiting Triantafyllopoulos’s home but denies making any proposals to the journalist, who until recently co-edited the Proto Thema newspaper with journalist and TV presenter Themos Anastassiadis. Triantafyllopoulos says he was asked by the MP to stop linking the head of the state financial crimes squad to the Zachopoulos scandal and in exchange the squad would drop a probe into the source of 5 million euros deposited in a bank account in the name of Anastassiadis. Triantafyllopoulos and Anastassiadis yesterday both testified before a magistrate probing the source of the 5 million euros and whether the cash is linked to the blackmail of former Culture Ministry general secretary Christos Zachopoulos. Also yesterday, police arrested a man who allegedly tried to steal Zachopoulos’s letters from his Kolonaki home.