Greece has given the go-ahead on Friday for the confiscation of assets at the embassy of Venezuela to pay victims of sexual harassment by the country’s former ambassador to Athens.
The Justice Ministry issued the order of confiscation to pay former embassy worker Xenia Bouzaranidou, who made the harassment claims, for which she was awarded by a Greek court 32,109.83 euros ($38,189.83)
The assets seizure will proceed provided that the embassy’s operation is not hindered in accordance with international law, the Justice Ministry said.
The case of another alleged victim, identified only Stamatia M. has not been adjudicated due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Five female workers at the embassy said they were harassed in 2013 by Ambassador Franklin Gonzalez while working there.
Xenia Bouzaranidou, was an employee of the embassy of Venezuela between October of 2012 and July 13, 2013.
She has been vindicated by a Greek court, which awarded her compensation for her ordeal, in March of 2019. However, until now, the court’s decision had not been executed.
Recently she spoke openly about the sexual harassment case to Greek media.
She said that then-Venezuelan ambassador sexually assaulted her repeatedly, and continuously made lewd comments to her and other female employees.
She said that after she and four other fellow employees reported the sexual abuse incidents, she was the one who pressed charges against the ambassador.
Bouzaranidou said that after her complaints in 2013, a SYRIZA politician, whom she did not name, approached her.
“He told me that I should show political maturity and remain silent and solve the problem among ourselves,” she said.
Three of the women who were involved were fired before her. Bouzaranidou was fired almost two years later.
Greek-Venezuela cover-up in a time of turmoil
During the years when the sexual assault incidents took place, Greece was in political turmoil. The economic crisis had divided Greek society, with the coalition government receiving fire from the whole of the political spectrum.
When the Venezuelan embassy scandal broke out, SYRIZA, which was extremely friendly with the socialist Venezuelan government of Nicolas Maduro, initially tried to downplay the sexual assault case.
Alexis Tsipras, the SYRIZA leader sent a letter to the President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro on the “sensitive issue” of the sexual abuse allegations.
Greek daily To Ethnos, recently revealed the content of the letter in which Tsipras calls on Maduro to replace the ambassador because as he puts it the allegations “will be used by the systemic media to the maximum, to attack the Left, both in Venezuela and in Greece.”