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Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline behind the plan to assassinate Kostas Karamanlis

15 March 2012 / 16:03:42  GRReporter
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Supreme police officers and the intelligence services have expressed their suspicions regarding the existence of a plan to assassinate former Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis in 2008, for which a criminal investigation has been launched by the Athens regional prosecutor’s office.

According to sources, at that time, there had actually been a warning by the Prime Minister to the specific organs of a possible attack and his personal guards were ordered to strengthen security measures. On the other hand, the Ministry of Citizen Protection has defined the information as "vague" and talks about strange games played by foreign factors behind this plan.

The criminal investigation is based on a document issued by the Greek intelligence service on 5 February 2009, the content of which was disclosed last summer. It stated the existence of a plan for the assassination of the former Prime Minister and of a new wave of tapping the telephone calls of politicians from Greece and abroad.

The document referred to a bulletin issued by the Russian Federal Security Service FSB, which is the successor of the Soviet secret service KGB. According to it, a group of 19 members of the FSB had arrived in Greece in March 2008. The reason for forming this group was "attempted tapping of the telephone calls between Kostas Karamanlis, the Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Bulgarian President at that time Georgi Parvanov."

The bulletin of the Russian services stated, "the target of the specific group is to organize acts of "counter observation" in order to find the people following the Greek Prime Minister." What the Russian commandos had found was a "plan to attack the former Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis to delay or thwart the country's energy policy."
As stated in the document, members of the Russian services had stood face to face with men, who had been following the car of the Greek Prime Minister, near Nea Makri at least once. This had happened between 20 and 25 April 2008 and, as noted, the "clash" had lasted not more than 30 seconds. However, "two suspects for organizing the assassination of the Prime Minister," who had been travelling by a van fled from the area by motorcycle. Russians said that they had found in the van explosives and maps, proving that the plan to murder the Greek Prime Minister had been drawn by members of the Western secret services and the Israeli Mossad.

According to Greek officers, who held senior positions in the police and the intelligence services, "the Russian officer," the author of the bulletin was a senior representative of the Russian embassy in Athens and the "person of contact" with the FSB. He has been living in Greece for years and is considered particularly experienced. After the ending of the bulletin by Russia, the case was transferred to the counterintelligence directorate of the Greek services.

Speaking to the Greek daily To Vima, a senior representative, who had dealt with the case said, "The Russian paper surprised us greatly. Firstly, because until then, we had no information about the tapping of the telephone calls between Kostas Karamanlis, Vladimir Putin and Georgi Parvanov. Most striking is the fact that the action of Russian commandos seems to be held with a delay of two years."

The three presidents met in Athens on 4 September 2006 and the main topic of the conversation was the construction of the Burgas – Alexandroupolis oil pipeline. After the meeting, they spoke on the telephone, particularly intensely in the same period. Since then, Vladimir Putin visited Greece several times. The Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov met with Kostas Karamanlis in 2009 too and had meetings with members of the government of George Papandreou in 2010.

One of the questions is how the "tapping" of international calls between Karamanlis, Putin and Parvanov was revealed. I.e. how did the Russian services reveal the tapping only of the telephone calls between the three politicians, but not Kostas Karamanlis' conversations with other foreign leaders.

According to the Greek services, it is indicative that Bulgarian diplomats in Athens said they knew nothing about such tapping.

Representatives of the Greek services engaged with the case said, "Our only assumption was that what was described as the tapping of telephone calls between Kostas Karamanlis, Vladimir Putin and Georgi Parvanov was an expression of concern by the Russian diplomats in Athens that their calls were tapped by the Greek intelligence service or other foreign services. Anything else would be ridiculous."

They defined as "vague and ridiculous" the statements of the presence of a group of FSB members in Athens, the counter observations of the car convoy of Kostas Karamanlis and the clash with those, who had planned to kill him.

"If a politician’s telephone calls are tapped, is it not logical that a large group should follow him in his country day and night? What is the target of this observation? Even the information about the potential collision with the murderers is totally baseless. How could the Russians blockade the bus and the spies escape by motorcycles? Where did they find them? Moreover, FSB members are not that inexperienced and misguided. At that time, we did not receive any information nor were we aware of the events described in the bulletin of the Russians."

"At that time, we asked the members of the security of Kostas Karamanlis whether they had found something unusual and their responses were negative. We think it is absolutely impossible for nineteen Russian commandos to follow the Greek Prime Minister for weeks in the streets in Rafina and along Marathonos Avenue without anyone seeing anything."

According to reliable sources, cited by the Greek daily To Vima, the Minister of Interior at that time Prokopis Pavlopoulos had informed Kostas Karamanlis about the document of the Greek intelligence services on the plan for his assassination. At the same time, he had stated that he would abstain on the truthfulness of the information. Through senior police officers, he had warned the Prime Minister's guards to "be careful and to constantly change the route to his home" without explaining to them the reason for these measures.


Tags: Crime newsAssassination planKostas KaramanlisBurgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipelineRussian Federal Security ServiceTelephone calls tappingVladimir PutinGeorgi Parvanov
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