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And when it comes to corruption we are the best...Our political system rewards the best among them every 4 years, by a process we tend to call 'elections', which places them in critical government positions.
The great fuss started after the attempted suicide of the Primary Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Christos Zachopoulos after having resigned from his position by claiming 'health problems'. The Minister accepted it and the case, although strange, seemed trivial. The first clouds appeared when it became publicly known that Mrs. Evi Tsekou, an employee inside the Ministry was blackmailing Zahopoulos. The reason was simple. But before going into details a short introduction is needed in order to understand the magical inner workings of Greek corruption system.
Zahopoulos has been a close friend of the current Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, several years ago, in Thessaloniki, when he was still being elected as member of the Greek Parliament. Zahopoulos was also a close friend of Natassa Pazaiti, now wife of the PM and using his connections, he helped her greatly with her 'academic' courses. When Kostas Karamanlis was elected Prime Minister, he also took control of the Ministry of Culture and appointed Zahopoulos as the General Secretary. Zahopoulos had immense power in the Ministry and in all successive reformations that took place in it, in the 5-year period that the political party of New Democracy has been in government, he has been tight in his position.
During all this period his behavior was provoking and many had warned the Prime Minister for his illegal actions. However, this was never going in public and Zahopoulos was completely covered by 'higher above'. The Greek audience became aware of his existence in summer of 2007, during Greece's huge fires, when he embarrassed himself when caught ignoring Cronius Hill (Κρόνιος Λόφος in Greek) as being a holy place of Olympia town. The Cronius Hill was destroyed by the fires and Zahopoulos was widely accepted as an incompetent, ignorant and almost dumb civil clerk.
Zahopoulos had love affairs with an employee inside the Ministry of Culture, Mrs. Evi Tsekou. Later it became known that he was repeatedly using his power to ask for sexual favors in return for employment, by female employees in the Ministry. After Zahopoulos' suicide attempt, it became known that Mrs. Tsekou, was blackmailing him, threatening to expose their private intercourses written in DVD using a hidden camera. The Government tried to cover the case by equating the case to a typical sex scandal. But it was not...
The public became suspicious over why the secretary committed suicided only having been accused for an off-marriage sexual affair. The shocking truth was that, Mr. Andrianos, journalist in the Prime Minister's office was in possession of the DVD, but the material that he handed to Justice (to investigate the blackmailing case)had been cut off! Of the total 40 minutes only 3 minutes arrived at Justice. Someone had obviously tampered with the original DVD. The Greek public opinion shouted: "Why the hell someone would process a DVD with sexual intercourse that is crime evidence. Are government officials responsible for this??"
There are many rumors about the content of the DVD. The only sure thing is that it is of great political significance. Zahopoulos is supposed to reveal many things about the Prime Minister, Kostas Karamanlis, both personal and political information. It is also said that Zahopoulos is referring to his wife, Natasa Pazaiti. It is also rumored that the Prime Minister himself, after watching the content, he demanded from Zahopoulos to 'just disappear'.However, the scandal has been broadened to cover also the media lobby.
It was revealed that the DVD was handed over to the Government by a journalist. Many have accused Themos Anastasiadis, chief editor of a popular newspaper, as being the journalist that gave away the disc. His prime work partner, Makis Triantafyllopoulos has accused him of making a deal with the government in order to stop tax controls on one of Mr. Anastasiadis' 'obscure' bank accounts. Mr. Anastasiadis has refused any possible participation in the case and has claimed that he has been blackmailed by others on this matter and that several months earlier informed the Police about the case. Mr. Andrianos, the journalist in PM's office that took the DVD, testified to Justice, and informed the interrogators about the journalist's identity and has made public that the journalist has been close friens, from University, with one of Evi Tsekou's former lawyer. Mr. Anastasiadis fits the profile but he denies all accusations and claims he is being 'hunted' by government officials and close media (interesting 'details': Anastasiadis' newspaper has revealed many government scandals over the years and recently obliged Greek Minister Mr. Magginas to resign from his position)
The story has yet a long way to go. Greek public opinion seems disappointed and disgusted about the huge corruption that comes to light. Whatever the end might be, it is sure that great political transforms will happen over the following months (political parties will be teared apart and new political forces will emerge)
See the latest post about the Zahopoulos case here