State prosecutors probe alleged plot to kill Greek prime minister
March 16, 2012 1 Comment
By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS| intelNews.org |
Government prosecutors in Athens have opened a criminal investigation into an alleged plot to kill the Prime Minister of Greece in 2008, which was reportedly uncovered by Russian intelligence. In June of last year, Greek media claimed that the country’s National Intelligence Service (EYP) had been briefed by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) about the assassination plot. According to the Russian briefing, the plot, codenamed PYTHIA, was hatched by the intelligence agency of “a country allied to Greece”, and was targeted at conservative Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, who governed Greece from 2004 to 2009. The Russians claimed that Operation PYTHIA was purportedly aimed at preventing Athens from signing on to a series of energy deals with Moscow, including the ambitious South Stream pipeline project, which aims to connect Russian gas fields to the European energy market. On Wednesday, court official Nikos Ornerakis told a press conference in Athens that, based on preliminary investigations, Greek prosecutors considered the case credible and had filed a felony count of conspiracy “against persons unknown”. The Associated Press, which reported on the story, spoke to former Ambassador Ioannis Corantis, who headed Greece’s EYP intelligence service during the discovery of the alleged assassination plot. Ambassador Corantis confirmed that the EYP had indeed been briefed on Operation PYTHIA “by an official of the [Russian] FSB”, and that the briefing concerned a suspected assassination plot against Prime Minister Karamanlis. He also said that the EYP was briefed by the Russians “in January or February of 2009”, several months after the alleged plot was uncovered by the FSB. He also said that he was one of several officials that had already been called on to provide evidence in the criminal case, and that other witnesses included members of the EYP, the Greek national police, and the Prime Ministerial security team. Corantis refused to discuss whether the EYP had been able to independently verify the information shared by the FSB, nor did he indicate whether there were any clues as to the identity of the alleged perpetrators of the plot. He stressed, however, that the Greek government considered the issue “a very serious case”.