A bribery “bombshell” shakes Greece, after Independent Greeks MP, Pavlos Chaikalis, claimed that he was offered two to three million euro in order to vote for Greece’s next President. The attempted bribery came by a private person. “I would be given 2-3 million euro in total, 700,000 euro in cash in advance, then there would be a settlement for my loans and also some advertising contracts,” Chaikalis, who is also an actor, told Breakfast Magazine of private ANT1 TV on Friday morning.
“It started as a joke, but then things got serious,” Chaikalis adding that he had video and audio material and that he took the case to the prosecutor and that he also gave name and address of the briber.
The MP refused to name the person who attempted to bribe him, but stressed that the person “was known to the economic and political world.”
Chaikalis’ claims come just two days after the first round of voting for the country’s next President and four days before the second round. Last Wednesday, the coalition government of Nea Dimokratia and PASOK failed to gather enough votes to elect Stavros Dimas for President. 127 ND lawmakers, 28 PASOK and 5 MPs voted in favor of Dimas. The 160 votes were far below the needed 200.
Independent Greeks is a nationalist, anti-austerity party that voted against Dimas candidacy. The party want snap polls.
Pavlos Chaikalis told ANT1 TV that he submitted the video material to prosecutor 15 days ago adding that “we kept the issue secret waiting for Justice to intervene, but nothing has happened so far.”
And here comes the old saying “there is never a dull moments in Greek politics and institutions.”
“Sources” from the prosecutor’s office told media that Chaikalis did indeed submitted footage but that he did not name the briber. According to the Justice sources, the footage contained “clear sound” but “blur image.” Therefore the prosecutor brief the police that established a special team to optimize the video quality and recognize the briber.
There is still confusion whether Chaikalis gave the briber’s name to prosecutor or not, Star TV justice reporter claimed that “the prosecutor learned the name on Friday morning from several websites and blogs” but the MP insisted that he had given the name on the second or third appointment with the prosecutor.
According to latest information, Chaikalis told the briber’s name to the Greek Police.
As whole Greece is keen to learn who attempted to bribe an MP in order to elect the President and avoid early elections, according to investigative journalist Kosta Vaxevanis , the briber was allegedly from the “environment of former PM George Papandreou” and “somebody who has worked for a Greek and a German bank.”
So far it is not clear whether the briber was just a middleman.
According to Vaxevanis’s website To Kouti tis Pandoras, Chaikalis had three meetings with the briber, he had brief Independent Greeks chairman Panos Kammenos and they had decided to wiretap the meetings and conversations. The police had entrapped Chaikalis’ home but that the briber did not appear in the crucial meeting.
Independent Greeks party is going to give a press conference at 1 pm Friday and most likely also release part of the video footage. I just saw Chaikalis on TV saying that he will give the briber’s name during the press conference.
It is not the first time that an MP from Independent Greeks complain about bribery attempt. End November, MP Stavroura Xoulidou claimed that she was offered 3 million euro by a man via Facebook. The case run in sand, somehow.
Indications in Chaikalis’ case seem more serious, though. Nea Dimokratia and main opposition SYRIZA demand that Pavlos Chaikalis gives the name of the briber. PASOK want a full and complete investigation.
Should the case proven to be air-and watertight, a serious question is how it can affect the Presidency voting.
It sure puts unbelievable pressure to those MPs who were willing to vote for Stavros Dimas in the second and third round. Will the shadow of bribery falls on them as well?
PS I heard on TV this morning, that bribing an MP is a felony, once the offered amount is above 120,000 euro. Otherwise, the crime is a misdemeanor!