The Greek Parliament voted late on Tuesday to create a special committee to investigate allegations of foul play by former SYRIZA minister Nikos Pappas.
The probe is aimed at investigating his role during the controversial auction for TV licenses in 2016 when he was Digital Policy Minister.
A total of 289 deputies participated in the voting procedure. Of these, 187 voted in favor, 85 voted against, 16 voted “present” and one vote was not valid. Nine deputies from the MeRA25 party abstained from the vote.
The proposal to set up a special committee was initiated by 30 MPs of the ruling New Democracy (ND) party.
The committee will investigate any crimes committed during the exercise of Pappas’ ministerial duties, but specifically the charge of bribery and repeated breach of duty.
A businessman who took part in the auction, Christos Kalogritsas, accused Pappas, who was responsible for overseeing the licensing process, of “rigging” the competition.
The Council of State, Greece’s top administrative court, ruled that the auction process which handed out four TV licenses was unconstitutional.
Nikos Pappas and the auction of 2016
For his part, Pappas rejected claims against him contained in the case file forwarded to Parliament in February by the Justice Ministry, and warned ND MPs to “be careful how you talk about SYRIZA.
“The time is coming when you will pay a heavy price for your slander.”
The SYRIZA-led government at the time had argued that the auction of TV licenses would bring order to the anarchic television landscape of Greece.
It accused the opposition of having tolerated the fact that for 27 years, TV channel owners had illegally and unconstitutionally avoided paying for the public frequencies they used.
Through the auction, it raised an unexpected €246 million from the license scheme, which was welcomed by the European Commission.
Greek Premier Alexis Tsipras had promised to grant this money to people who had been most affected by austerity policies.