New revelation in Mevgal case

The trial of three men alleged to have blackmailed dairy producer Mevgal over price fixing began yesterday with the revelation that one of the suspects communicated with the brother of a government minister regarding the payment of a sum so that a large fine would not be imposed on the company by the competition watchdog. The court heard that alleged middleman Constantinos Constantinidis, a grain merchant, telephoned the brother of then Employment Minister Savvas Tsitouridis on September 11, 2006, to ask whether Mevgal could pay 200,000 euros in cash, rather than a check for 2.4 million euros, to exempt the firm from a Competition Commission fine. The phone call allegedly made by Constantinidis on behalf of Mevgal was not disputed in court yesterday by the firm’s president, Petros Papadakis. About a year later, 11 dairy firms and six supermarkets were fined 77 million euros for fixing prices of dairy goods.