High court prosecutor order preliminary probe into claims contained in a suit by former FM Kotzias’

6 November 2018
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A supreme court prosecutor has ordered a preliminary investigation stemming from a “fictitious defendants” lawsuit filed by former foreign minister Nikos Kotzias last week, over what the latter alleges is libel and dissemination of fake news aimed to harm his reputation.

Kotzias’ legal action comes after a tumultuous Cabinet meeting last month reportedly served as the venue for an acrimonious standoff between himself and Defense Minister Panos Kammenos. The Prespa agreement, negotiated by Kotzias with the Zaev government in Skopje, was reason for the reported row. Kammenos continues to walk a “political tightrope” between vocally opposing the provisional agreement between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYRoM) but still supporting the Tsipras coalition government, in which he serves as a top minister.

Kammenos reportedly raised a “Soros card” against Kotzias during the Cabinet meeting, initially conveyed as a corruption-tinged insinuation, one that was reproduced by much of the local media in the days that followed. Following his resignation, Kotzias took to the airwaves and then filed the lawsuit.

In a revised statement days after Kotzias resigned, the controversial Kammenos denied that he flung a direct accusation against the former foreign minister, referring instead to a company linked with visas issued by the foreign ministry.

In his lawsuit, Kotzias cites a “campaign of threats” against him and his family over the Prespa accord and claims of ties with international financier and philanthropist George Soros involving an international tender for visa issuing services by Greece’s foreign ministry.

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