NEWS

‘Threats’ forced official to jump

Former Culture Minister general secretary Christos Zachopoulos believes that he was blackmailed by a ring of at least four people that was led by his former assistant Evi Tsekou, according to the ex-public official’s deposition. Sources said that during his deposition over the last two weeks, Zachopoulos identified Tsekou as the ringleader and named lawyers Dimitris Balerbas, Iraklis Koutelidas and Christos Nikoloutsopoulos as accomplices in the alleged effort to blackmail him over a video that showed him having sex with his assistant. Tsekou and Nikoloutsopoulos have been remanded in custody over the allegations but Koutelidas and Balerbas have yet to face questioning. Zachopoulos allegedly told magistrate Dimitris Economou that Tsekou demanded 200,000 euros and a permanent position at the Culture Ministry in return for not making the video public. He also claimed that Balerbas and Koutelidas pretended that they would try to smooth things over between Tsekou and Zachopoulos but were in fact trying to get favors out of him. Nikoloutsopoulos is alleged to have helped Tsekou come into contact with journalists with a view to selling the video. Zachopoulos claimed that he tried to commit suicide last December in a bid to stop his alleged blackmailers from making the footage public after he heard rumors that the media had got hold of the video.