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Greek ministers in 'sex, lies and DVDs' scand


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Greek ministers in 'sex, lies and DVDs' scandal

By our foreign staff

Last Updated: 1:56pm GMT 09/01/2008

Opposition parties have attacked Greece’s conservative government over what newspapers call the “Sex, lies and DVDs” scandal concerning the possible blackmail of a former senior culture ministry official.

Just four months after its re-election on pledges to fight corruption, Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has seen some of his closest aides dragged into the affair and has been called on to answer questions in parliament.

The scandal broke after former culture ministry general secretary Christos Zachopoulos resigned last month and then tried to kill himself, apparently because he was being blackmailed.

Zachopoulos, 54, who is still in hospital, was close to Mr Karamanlis and had extensive financial and political powers at the ministry responsible for Greece’s antiquities.

Socialist deputies now want to review several contracts he approved, as well as decisions to allow construction on or near archaeological sites.

The government has said only that the issue is in the hands of Greek justice, but government officials speaking on condition of anonymity stressed personal tragedy rather than political scandal.

The head of Mr Karamanlis’ press office, Yannis Andrianos, has given prosecutors a DVD which police say shows intimate moments between Zachopoulos and a 35-year-old female assistant.

The woman was arrested, charged with blackmail and is being held pending trial.

She denies she tried to blackmail her boss.

But police experts say the DVD has been edited and that has raised questions in the media about whether the missing comments could have damaged the government.

Andrianos, a former journalist, has refused to say who gave him the DVD, asserting he is protecting his sources.

Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis’ conservatives were re-elected in September with 41.83 percent of the vote.

But a nationwide poll for private Antenna television found support for the governing New Democracy party had plummeted to 27.6 percent on Tuesday, with main opposition Socialists at 26.3 percent.

Mr Karamanlis served as culture minister between 2004 and 2006.

Source: The Telegraph

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