Former foreign minister Nikos Kotzias has filed a lawsuit in the Greek Supreme Court (Areios Pagos) with weighty charges against former defence minister Panos Kammenos.
In the lawsuit, Kotzias accuses Kammenos of masterminding and engaging in verbal abuse, slander, threats, and the dissemination of false news against the government. He also reserved the right to seek monetary compensation for the harm to his reputation.
Kotzias resigned in October when in a stormy cabinet meeting Kammenos alleged that George Soros had given the government 50mn euros to buy off politicians in North Macedonia (then FYROM) in order to pass the Greece-FYROM Prespa Agreement.
Kotzias was the architect of the Prespa Agreement and Kammenos and his Independent Greeks party (then the junior coalition partner) vehemently opposed it and later pulled out of the government when it was about to be tabled in the Greek Parliament for ratification.
“I believe that it is necessary for the court to protect me,” Kotzias stated in the lawsuit. “I would like declare before the Greek judiciary that his [Kammenos’] planned targeting of me beginning in the summer of 2018 renders him potentially responsible for anything bad that may happen to me or my family, to our physical or mental health. This targeting could give the impression to someone who is familiar with international relations that there is something else behind this “inexplicable rage”.
Kotzias filed the lawsuit through his attorney Christos Koutsonasios, who is a member of the political secretariat of Kotzias’ Pratto political movement. In it he refers at length to threats and pressures that he received at various times regarding the Prespa Agreement and cites the allegedly slanderous remarks of the former defence minister regarding the alleged funding of the government by George Soros with 50mn euros, the illegal granting of contracts by the foreign ministry, and the misappropriation of outlandish and non-existent amounts from the ministry’s black funds.
Two members of Pratto’s political secretariat were present when the lawsuit was filed – Yorgos Sakellariou and Michalis Kokkinos, who is the foreign ministry’s general secretary for diaspora issues.
Kotzias believes that Panos Kammenos is responsible for all of the above alleged lawless actions and for other statements against him alleging that he profited by awarding a company an improper contract for the issuance of visas and that he misappropriated secret funds and says Kammenos is responsible for the attacks against him.