Marinakis blasts Kokkalis, Melissanidis regarding Olympiakos FC, vested interests
‘On Tsipras’ and SYRIZA’s watch Sokratis Kokkalis’ companies have received huge sums of money. Kokkalis is also in a tight embrace with Dimitris Melissanidis through Intralot and OPAP [betting companies] and also Agia Sofia [the new AEK FC stadium],’ the Olympiacos FC owner said.
FC Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis has made bombshell charges against Petros and Sokratis Kokkalis [the business tycoon who previously owned Olympiacos], as well as against businessman and AEK FC owner Dimitris Melissanidis and PAOK FC owner Ivan Savvidis.
Asked about Petros Kokkalis (now a European Parliament candidate on SYRIZA’s ticket) and his relationship with his father, Sokratis, Marinakis offered his account of why the father and son are not on good terms.
He spoke of the dark alleyways of Greek football and maintained that Kokkalis “gave” businessman Thomas Mitropoulos (who has had a sketchy course in Greek football) to PAOK FC owner Ivan Savvidis and to AEK owner Melissanidis in order to harm Olympiacos.
Marinakis also spoke of the electoral collaboration between the ruling SYRIZA party and Kokkalis.
Marinakis played down talk of tensions with Petros Kokkalis, who has given a spate of interviews in which he has dropped barbs against Marinakis. Both were elected on Mayor Yannis Moralis’ ticket as members of the Piraeus City Council and Kokkalis resigned his seat recently in order run in the elections.
“There is no dispute and there is no reason for me to run around to television and radio stations to accuse him. I do not want to talk about it. It is without merit. [Petros Kokkalis] was with us [on the City Council ticket] because his father requested this so that he could have something to do. He had failed both in his father’s businesses and in Olympiacos FC and in the amateur Olympiacos team, where he left a debt behind. I have nothing to say to him,” Marinakis said.
The shipowner also spoke about his relationship with Sokratis Kokkalis.
“The only thing we have in common is my succeeding him [as owner of] Olympiacos FC. I did not and do not have ties with the public sector. I did not intertwine my interests with a party and politicians in order to hugely enlarge my business. My business is abroad. I serve Greece in global shipping. Since the summer of 2010 Olympiacos has paid over 150mn euros in taxes and insurance contributions to the state.
“Without special payment schedules and without delay we pay what the football club owes to the Greek state, without my having any business with the public sector. When we took over Olympiacos had a debt of 60mn euros, huge economic problems, and a crumbling infrastructure. Sokratis Kokkalis himself was not disposed to lead the club out of the impasse. At the drop of a hat I invested 60mn euros, and in the first year we won the championship with everyone stacked against us. It was a year when Panathinaikos FC was all-powerful and had just won the double,” Marinaksi said.
“On Tsipras’ and SYRIZA’s watch Sokratis Kokkalis’ companies have received huge sums of money. He is also in a tight embrace with Dimitris Melissanidis through Intralot and OPAP [betting companies] and also Agia Sofia [the new AEK FC stadium]. It is known that he offered the services of Thomas Mitropoulos to Melissanidis and prior to that to Ivan Savvidis. Thomas Mitropoulos and his entourage caused us enormous problems and we paid for that. For some people money and personal interests rule as king. I am always honest with Olympiacos’ people. Everyone must understand that Olympiacos is above money, politics and interests,” the football club owner concluded.