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А Greek TV presenter ordered to pay compensation to her Bulgarian cleaning woman

24 April 2015 / 17:04:50  GRReporter
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An Athens court sentenced Greek TV presenter Irene Nikolopoulou to pay compensation to the amount of 10,000 euros to her Bulgarian maid Hristina Todorova.

The reason for the judicial decision was Nikolopoulou's unfair accusations against the woman which caused her mental anguish. She was blamed for having stolen money from the safe in a company run by the TV presenter.

The case started back in 2004 when Irene Nikolopoulou, then a presenter for the national TV ERT, realized that about 4,170 euros was missing from a drawer in an office of her company ''About Media''.

In the evidence she gave before the police authorities investigating the case she indicated her maid as the main suspect for the theft. As a result, an indictment against the Bulgarian woman was constituted in 2007.

Hristina Todorova, on her part, filed a claim against Nikolopoulou. It says: `The false accusation caused me a serious health problem, as a result of which I am in an irreversible mental state, a consequence of which is also my severe moral harm. I was forced to undergo psychotherapy in a specialized ward, where they found that I was suffering from depression, insomnia, reduced capacity and recurrent suicidal thoughts.`

According to the Bulgarian, Nikolopoulou did not hesitate to even threaten her with extradition, relying on the fact of her being a journalist. Hristina Todorova commented for the electronic edition zougla.gr that her ex-employer even involved in the threats her present husband Panos Karvounis – a head of the Representation of the European Commission in Athens.

Six years after the initial accusations, Irene Nikolopoulou has withdrawn them and started tpo claim the exact opposite - that Hristina Todorova is an honest person who would never commit a theft. The reason for Nikolopoulou`s changed position was that the disciplinary council of the Journalists` union in Athens published a disciplinary decision against her regarding another case in which they had ascertained that she had been lying.

 

The Athens Court passed judgement on the case at the beginning of March this year after a series of delays. Present Eurodeputy from SYRIZA and long-standing syndicalist Kostadinka Kuneva announced the following on the case of Hristina Todorova.

'Hristina Todorova arrived in Athens in 2000 as an economic immigrant from Bulgaria aiming to work. She has been working at the home and company of famous TV presenter Irene Nikolopoulou (we have a possession of her data – Author's note) and, as she herself claims, her life has been a nightmare for these six years. Hristina has become a victim of unfair accusations and slander according to which she has stolen a sum of money from the company of I.N. These accusations led to many legal problems with a lot of costs and caused Hristina severe mental suffering. Such a compromising situation did not allow her to work unimpeded.

The golgotha has continued six years, as I.N. has not appeared in court to tell the truth in her evidence. Six years later, she suddenly sent a letter to the court highlighting Hristina's personality and claiming that she has never suspected her. I.N. declared being certain of Hristina's not having stolen the money and her being a trustworthy person. However, Hristina filed a claim against I.N. for having suffered moral harm.  With a judgement 250/2015 the Athens Court vindicated Hristina and put I.N. under an obligation to pay her 10,000 euros in compensation and to cover all judicial costs. The Court accepted the content of Hristina's claim totally and disallowed all allegations of I.N.

This court judgement shows that justice can be a refuge for people who become victims of their employers` high-handed actions. This is especially true for the economic immigrants, who see themselves as `dumb` and `invisible`.

We hope that by spreading the news of her ordeal, which, at least, had a happy end in court, will serve as a stimulus for other workers and immigrants to initiate proceedings and demand what they are due, too. From my Eurodeputy position, my collaborators and I also follow closely other cases of economic immigrants, who are victims of injustice, arbitrariness and even mishandling like Anastasia in Istiaia on Evia island. And my wish is for the same just end of their cases, too.`  

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