Moving to head off the release of more secret videos that could provide claims the government has trumped up charges against the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, a prosecutor has asked Parliament to lift the immunity of the extremists spokesman so he can face charges of making and using an unlawful recording.
Chief investigator Calliope Dagianta is going after Golden Dawn lawmaker Ilias Kasidiaris, who was featured in a videotape with then government Cabinet Secretary Panayiotis Baltakos, who told him the government of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras had concocted evidence to break up the party and take its votes.
Baltakos, who resigned in the aftermath, said he didn’t know he was being recorded and allegedly told the prosecutor that only Kasidiaris could have done it.
It’s unlawful to secretly record people and release the videos in Greece. Baltakos said he feared more videos were coming, likely featuring other officials from the ruling New Democracy Conservative party headed by Samaras.
Baltakos later claimed he was lying to Kasidiaris and was acting as a covert operator to try to get more information about the party, whose hierarchy has been arrested or jailed pending trial on charges of running a criminal gang.
Kasidiaris, who has already had his immunity lifted several times for a string of charges, said that he planned to propose the creation of a parliamentary committee to investigate Samaras, Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias and Justice Minister Haralambos Athanasiou on charges of abuse of power and treason.
The motion would need 30 votes to pass in the 300-seat House and, with just 16 lawmakers, it is unlikely Golden Dawn, seen as a pariah since entering Parliament in 2012, will get the the necessary backing.
In the video, Baltakos suggests that the two ministers intervened to secure the arrest of Golden Dawn lawmakers on criminal charges and also suggests that Samaras sought to influence the probe against the party with the aim of political gain. Baltakos later said the Premier knew nothing about it.
In a related development, sources told the newspaper Kathimerini that that the two magistrates probing the party’s alleged criminal activities have amassed more incriminating evidence.
That includes a text message allegedly sent to GD MP Panayiotis Iliopoulos by an unidentified person who claims to have abandoned a Pakistani immigrant in the street after hitting him with his car.
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