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Publisher, two journalists arrested on blackmail charges

Greek police arrested a publisher of a small daily newspaper and two journalists on charges of blackmailing officials at utility companies, public organizations and banks. The arrest followed an extensive investigation that started already in May 2015.

According to Greek media, the three men were threatening company executives and bankers that they would publish slanderous articles against them, if they would not pay them money.

The paid amounts were registered as “advisement paid by public companies and banks.”

Some media report that the three managed to blackmail thousands of euro each month, during last year their ‘revenues’ reached two million euro.

The suspects have been allegedly involved in blackmailing for several years, but hardly a victim had turned to police. Investigation started when an official at the Athens Water Company was forced to hand out 15,000 euro and she denounced the case. Last summer, the resignation of an executive of an utility company is claimed to had link to this blackmailing issue.

A chief Security officer told “ET” that “they had set up a slander mechanism through several websites they had and the daily newspaper. They would pick up the phone talk to utility companies and banks executives seeking ‘advertisement’. If they wouldn’t get what they wanted, they threatened them to start a slander articles and post negative comments about them. In some cases they even threatened the lives of their victims and even minors,” like their children.

The two journalists have been apparently known to have been assigned at press offices of public institutions and a bank.

The three were known in the media as they were “accredited journalists”. Some videos show them posing questions to prime ministers during press conferences or in pictures with PMs and Ministers. The publisher had also appeared as commentator in state ERT TV.

Greek havoc as always: SYRIZA accuses New Democracy for having assigned the suspects to high ranking positions in public institutions in the past, ND accuses SYRIZA of having connections with them as well.

Government spokeswoman, Olga Gerovassili, asked New Democracy to give explanation about one of the suspects claimed to “have political links with many former government officials of ND, while he was allegedly appointed to government positions and political offices of ND officials.”

The publisher, 42, is active in print and online media, the two journalists are 35 and 50 years old, all are males. They all deny the charges.

Greek police had the media know that “more arrests will follow”, media speak of another 3-4 journalists been currently investigated.

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  1. What publication did they own does anyone know.