It sounds like a polit-thriller. And it looks as if there was an assassination plan against former conservative prime minister Costas Karamanlis and a whole plot to destabilize the country, in April 2008. After several months of investigation a prosecutor in Athens opened a criminal case ‘against unknown persons’ on Wednesday in a suspected plot to remove form PM Karamanlis from power. Greek media report, the suspected plot was brought to light by a tip off from Russian spy agency FSB that informed the Greek National Intelligence Service ( EYP).
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.
Costas Karamanlist served as prime minister between 2004 and 2009. Back in 2008, 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 and was heavily unpopular at the time with the United States.
Greek daily To Vima reported that the plot had to do with the Bourgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline and that the telephone conservations between Costas Karamanlis, Vladimir Putin and Georgi Parvanov were tapped.
The criminal investigation is based on a document issued by the Greek intelligence service on 5 February 2009, the content of which was disclosed last summer. It stated the existence of a plan for the assassination of the former Prime Minister and of a new wave of tapping the telephone calls of politicians from Greece and abroad.
The document referred to a bulletin issued by the Russian Federal Security Service FSB, which is the successor of the Soviet secret service KGB. According to it, a group of 19 members of the FSB had arrived in Greece in March 2008. The reason for forming this group was “attempted tapping of the telephone calls between Kostas Karamanlis, the Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Bulgarian President at that time Georgi Parvanov.”
The bulletin of the Russian services stated, “the target of the specific group is to organize acts of “counter observation” in order to find the people following the Greek Prime Minister.” What the Russian commandos had found was a “plan to attack the former Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis to delay or thwart the country’s energy policy.”
As stated in the document, members of the Russian services had stood face to face with men, who had been following the car of the Greek Prime Minister, near Nea Makri at least once. This had happened between 20 and 25 April 2008 and, as noted, the “clash” had lasted not more than 30 seconds. However, “two suspects for organizing the assassination of the Prime Minister,” who had been travelling by a van fled the area by a motorcycle. Russians said that they had found in the van explosives and maps, proving that the plan to murder the Greek Prime Minister had been drawn by members of the Western secret services and the Israeli Mossad.
According to Greek officers, who held senior positions in the police and the intelligence services, “the Russian officer,” the author of the bulletin was a senior representative of the Russian embassy in Athens and the “person of contact” with the FSB. He has been living in Greece for years and is considered particularly experienced. After sending the bulletin by Russia, the case was transferred to the counterintelligence directorate of the Greek services.
(To Vima Further Reading via GR Reporter)
Speaking to Associated Press, Ioannis Corantis, who headed Greece’s National Intelligence Service at the time, said that he was among those called to give evidence in the case, and confirmed that the service had received information from Russia’s spy agency about a suspected plot against Karamanlis.
“The information was given to us by an official of the FSB,” said Corantis, who is now holds a parliamentary seat for the right-wing LAOS party.
“This concerns events that supposedly happened in April 2008. We at the NIS were informed in January or February of 2009. I am not in a position to say what could be investigated further by the special prosecutor,” he added.
Corantis did not give any details of the alleged plot or speculate who may have been behind it.
Corantis did not indicate whether Greece’s intelligence agency had independently confirmed the FSB information.
But he said he considered the issue “a very serious case. And since the public prosecutor has decided to file criminal charges … it is clear that this is serious and that it requires further investigation from the special prosecutor who will take over the case.”
The press reports published last summer said the NIS informed Karamanlis’ government in February 2009 about efforts to derail the country’s energy policy and that Karamanlis’ telephone conversations with then Russian President Vladimir Putin had become the target of wiretaps.( and further reading in AP)
In June 2011, Greek weekly magazine Epikaira revealed the plan for the assassination of Costas Karamanlis codenamed “Pythia 1″. Accoridng to Epikaira the plan was allegedly carried out by “allied intelligence services” who had involved at least twenty Greek collaborators of them, who “did not belong to the anarchist/terrorist area”. (Further reading in English Here)