The alternate spokesperson for New Democracy, Sofia Zacharaki, narrowly escaped arrest after pro-government publisher Kostas Vaxevanis sued her for slander and requested that she be arrested, under an emergency procedure that allows authorities to arrest an individual within 48 hours after a crime or after a lawsuit is filed.
Vaxevanis in his lawsuit charged that Zacharakis had, on a 2 September television programme, slandered him, as she falsely accused Vaxevanis of having been convicted on charges of slander.
Vaxevanis had been vindicated on appeal.
Greek police visited New Democracy’s Athens headquarters twice in order to arrest Zacharaki, but did not find her there.
Hours later, 9pm, Zacharaki went to ND headquarters, so that she would be there in the event that police sought her out again, which they did not.
There was reportedly a subsequent order not to arrest Zacharaki.
“Police searched for me two times. I went to ND offices just in case they were to search for me for a third time, but they did not. I did not fear anyone,” Zacharaki said today.
Zacharakis said that if someone “operates as the communications arm of the government on issues that affect it, with mudslinging and slander, it is a substantial issue. Often the front pages of [Vaxevanis’] newspaper [Documento] are pre-announced by the prime minister’s office”.
New Democracy has charges that the government and the publisher are engaged in an unprecedented effort to muzzle political parties.
Vaxevanis had published an article, in his newspaper Documento, claiming that ND leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis’ nephew, lawyer Grigoris Dimitriadis, was implicated in the Energy embezzlement scandal, as he allegedly cooperated with the now convicted Energa managing director Aristidis Floros in managing offshore companies in which Floros deposited the embezzled money.
The company, along with Hellas Power, was charged with embezzling over 200mn euros in real estate taxes, which at the time were added to clients’ electricity bills and were supposed to be handed over by the state.
Dimitriadis has said that he will sue Vaxevanis.