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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsTwo Greek Ministers Resign After Meeting With Media Mogul Marinakis

Two Greek Ministers Resign After Meeting With Media Mogul Marinakis

Evangelos Marinakis is a shipowner and a Greek media and football tycoon. Credit: Olympiacos FC, CC BY-SA 4.0

Two Greek ministers resigned on Thursday after it was revealed that they met Evangelos Marinakis, a Greek media and football tycoon earlier in the week.

Minister of State Stavros Papastavrou and Deputy Minister to Prime Minister Ioannis Bratakοs submitted their resignations to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who thanked them for their cooperation and accepted the resignations.

Participation in a social gathering sent the wrong message, government sources stated regarding the resignations without openly disclosing Marinakis’ name.

The two ministers, close associates of Mitsotakis, had participated in a social event on the name day of Marinakis along with many other friends and relatives of the tycoon.

In recent weeks government officials have criticized Marinakis without ever mentioning his name. They have implied that his media group, the Lambrakis Press Group, which includes some of the country’s most-selling newspapers is on a war footing against the government.

“Did you send them to smoke cigars or a peace pipe?”

The meeting in question was raised in Parliament on Thursday by the PASOK leader, Nikos Androulakis, during the debate on the motion of no confidence in the government.

Androulakis, whom the government accused of tabling the no-confidence motion due to being “entangled” with a certain businessman, asked why two government ministers had drinks on Sunday night together with the same businessman.

“Did you send them to smoke cigars or a peace pipe,” Androulakis asked, implying that the ministers in question were trying to convince Marinakis to change his stance against the government.

In a statement issued before the resignations, the main opposition SYRIZA said that the next time the government accused SYRIZA of being “entangled” with certain interests, it should recall the “friendly drinks” of its ministers with the same interests.

Reacting to the resignations, New Left said: “If anyone should resign, it is the prime minister himself, the high priest of cover-ups, lies and misinformation.”

Mitsotakis hits back at business interests – No mention of Marinakis

Mitsotakis during his speech in the parliament mentioned “business interests” that want to influence Greek politics following the report in the Sunday newspaper To Vima, owned by Marinakis.

The front page story cited doctored tapes leaked to the press immediately after the horrific train crash at Tempe, implying that the government instigated a cover-up. The report led to Androulakis tabling the no-confidence motion that was rejected on Thursday.

Mitsotakis said the report was misleading, and that the events it detailed – a supposed flurry of communications that highlighted the stationmaster’s responsibility for the crash – had been reported a long time ago by state TV ERT and that his government had no involvement.

The Prime Minister stressed that there are distinct responsibilities and limits in a parliamentary democracy.

“Governments are the ones who set the rules and this sometimes leads to conflicts,” he said characteristically, and added that “the sovereign people rule and not the bloated wallets, even if some people think that everyone and everything is redeemable, they are deeply in the dark.

“If a publisher, a big businessman, has political aspirations, let him appear openly. But himself, not through proxies. If they wish, they must be seen, judged, compared and measured,” he added.

Marikanis owns a big fleet of freighters and LNG ships, and Greek football club Olympiacos and English team Nottingham Forest.

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