Kladas graft probe dropped

After several weeks of investigation, one part of the Zachopoulos case was dropped yesterday when a prosecutor decided she could not substantiate claims that the head of the financial crimes squad had tried to exchange favors with a high-profile journalist. Prosecutor Maria Gane had been looking into claims made by investigative reporter Makis Triantafyllopoulos that New Democracy MP Costas Koukodimos had approached him and asked the journalist to stop mentioning the name of Spyros Kladas, the head of the financial crimes squad, in connection with the Zachopoulos case. Triantafyllopoulos claimed that through Koukodimos, Kladas had offered to drop a probe into the origin of some 5 million euros deposited in the bank account of fellow journalist Themos Anastasiadis. Triantafyllopoulos and Anastasiadis co-owned the successful Sunday newspaper Proto Thema at the time. The allegations prompted Koukodimos to leave New Democracy last month, though he has remained in Parliament as an independent deputy, thereby cutting the government’s majority to a single seat. Kladas was working for a Culture Ministry organization at the time Christos Zachopoulos was general secretary. Kladas denied reports that he had tried to help Zachopoulos’s assistant and lover Evi Tsekou find a permanent job at the ministry.