NEWS

Tsekou grilled over ‘blackmail’

The former assistant of Christos Zachopoulos, Evi Tsekou, told a magistrate yesterday that she recorded the couple having sex but did not use the footage to try and blackmail the ex-Culture Ministry general secretary, court sources said. It was the 35-year-old’s second deposition, and despite submitting a 40-page written statement to magistrate Dimitris Economou, the judge questioned Tsekou for almost 11 hours. Economou felt there were gaps in Tsekou’s explanations. Tsekou was remanded in custody in December after being accused of blackmailing Zachopoulos and causing his attempt to kill himself. Tsekou reportedly told Economou that the footage of her having sex with Zachopoulos was copied without her knowledge. Tsekou claimed she videotaped the meeting because she wanted to pressure Zachopoulos to give her a permanent job at the ministry. She denies having any accomplices. The 35-year-old claimed that she showed a videotape of the encounter to journalists at the Proto Thema newspaper but did not give them the material. Tsekou alleged that she had some 50 minutes of footage but that she has destroyed it because she regretted her actions. The government has claimed that a DVD of the scenes with Tsekou and Zachopoulos was given to one of the prime minister’s aides by Proto Thema co-owner Themos Anastasiadis but that it was only a few minutes long. Anastasiadis, who was involved in a public fallout with one of the newspaper’s other owners, denies giving the DVD to the government. The lawyer who accompanied Tsekou to her meetings with journalists is not yet fit to face questioning. Christos Nikoloutsopoulos is currently in hospital being treated for depression. Tsekou is set to appear before a prosecutor on Thursday to face questions about whether Zachopoulos was involved in any financial irregularities while at the Culture Ministry.