The latest political furor in Greece this month revolved around charges that former SYRIZA minister Nikos Pappas used a prominent businessman as a “front-man” to set up media outlets to support his leftist government and ruling party prior to 2019.
Allegations made by Christos Kalogritsas, in fact, formed the backbone of a decision by a Parliament majority to establish a committee of inquiry to investigate, with hearings commencing this week. Kalogritsas had been active for decades in the country as a mid-sized public works contractor and auto dealership owner, although over recent years his business activities have sputtered.
Pappas, who held the digital policy, telecoms and media portfolio in Alexis Tsipras’ second cabinet, has flatly denied any wrongdoing.
During the second day of testimony on Tuesday, Kalogritsas claimed he was approached by Pappas to be the “front-man” in both setting up a pro-government weekly newspaper and affiliated site, as well as to bid for one of five nationwide television licenses the previous government auctioned off.
He also told members of the Parliamentary committee of inquiry, deputies themselves, that he has SMS communications to prove his allegations, including a instructions on who to receive three million euros in funding from the multinational construction contractor CCC, a Lebanese-owned but Athens based company.