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Golden Dawn shakes up the government of Samaras

02 April 2014 / 19:04:41  GRReporter
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Secretary General of the Greek government Panagiotis Baltakos resigned after the contents of a conversation between him and Golden Dawn deputy Ilias Kasidiaris were revealed. The spokesman of the neo-Nazi party had presented in parliament and disseminated in the media a video in which Baltakos tells him how Prime Minister Antonis Samaras had got angry when he had learnt of the investigator's decision not to send him and his colleagues Nikos Michos and Ilias Panagiotaros into custody after their arrests on 18 September last year.

In the video, which is uploaded on the Russian platform rutube, one can hear Panagiotis Baltakos describing how members of the government had interfered in the work of justice in connection with the investigation of the activities of Golden Dawn. In particular, according to the decoded text presented by Kasidiaris, the Secretary General of the cabinet had said that Minister of Citizen Protection and Public Order Nikos Dendias and Minister of Justice Charalambos Athanasiou had exerted pressure on the prosecutor in the case. Moreover, Baltakos had stated that having been informed that some of the arrested Golden Dawners had not been sent into custody Antonis Samaras had got angry and called the two ministers to explain the situation.

As soon as the news appeared in the media, the developments took place at breakneck speed. PASOK demanded the resignation of Panagiotis Baltakos and a little later Prime Minister Samaras said, "I ​​do not know exactly what happened but if this is true there is no room for Mr. Baltakos in the office."

The Secretary General of the cabinet announced his decision to resign in a letter to the Prime Minister. "Everything I said aimed at saving me from the pressure exerted on me by members of Golden Dawn. They accused me of involvement in a conspiracy against them," reads the letter in which Baltakos apologizes for the commotions caused by him.

All parliamentary parties responded sharply to the findings and criticized the government for interfering in the work of justice. In turn, the two ministers whose names are mentioned in the video, namely Nikos Dendias and Charalambos Athanasiou, denied any intervention in the investigation associated with Golden Dawn.

The appearance of the video and the subsequent reactions provoked the wrath of Baltakos’ son who attacked in parliament three members of Golden Dawn and hit them. The incident began when a policeman who guarded Takis Baltakos’ office kicked Golden Dawn deputy Artemis Mateopoulos who was going to the party offices. The quarrel involved other Golden Dawners as well. Immediately thereafter Baltakos’ son went to the party office and demanded an explanation.

According to officials, he had slapped deputy Michalis Arvanitis, kicked Mateopoulos and punched Nikos Kouzilos. Their shouts and curses could be heard on the ground floor of the parliament. Shortly after that, journalists saw Baltakos’ son leaving the building, running, and accompanied by his father's security guards. The young man got into his car, after putting on the hood of his jacket, and left.

According to parliamentary sources, Ilias Kasidiaris is preparing to file a written complaint of attack against Baltakos’ son. He is also preparing to request an explanation how the young man was able to enter the building, accusing the policemen guarding the parliament of failing to apprehend him and to trigger the procedure prescribed by law "because he is Panagiotis Baltakos’ son."
 
A little later it became clear that the young man is a coast guard officer. The head of the service has ordered a routine inquiry about the developments in the parliament and the son of the former Secretary General of the Greek cabinet has been placed under judicial prohibition.

Tags: PoliticsSecretary General of the governmentPanagiotis BaltakosResignationGolden DawnIlias KasidiarisInvestigation
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