Thursday, 15 March 2012

Case of Alleged Plot Against Former PM Karamanlis Opened

ATHENS, Greece (AP) —  A prosecutor opened a criminal case Wednesday in a suspected plot to remove the former Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis from power, a court official said.
The official said prosecutor Nikos Ornerakis filed a felony count of conspiracy to destabilize the government against “persons unknown” after a preliminary investigation. The probe was sparked by local media reports in August alleging Russian secret services had uncovered a potential plot to topple or assassinate Karamanlis, who served as prime minister from 2004 to 2009.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, said members of the Greek secret service, police and Karamanlis’ security team were questioned during the investigation.

The alleged plot focused on the years 2007-2009, at a time when Karamanlis was seeking to improve energy ties with Russia and his government was negotiating over the South Stream pipeline project which aims to transport Russian natural gas to Europe.
According to the testimony gathered during the investigation, Greek secret services received notification from Russian secret services of the potential plot, and in turn informed the prime minister’s office in early 2009.
The presentation of the charges means that Ornerakis found evidence of a plot but was not able, at the present stage of the investigation, to determine who was behind it.
“For a prosecutor to bring criminal charges for such severe and rare offenses that pertain to the life and the execution of the duties of a serving prime minister, he clearly has strong indications,” Evangelos Antonaros, a conservative lawmaker and former spokesman for Karamanlis’ government, told the AP.
Under Greek law, charges can be brought against “persons unknown” when a specific suspect has not been identified. The conspiracy charge carries a maximum life sentence.

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