Athens Prosecutor orders preliminary investigation against Minister Polakis over illegal phone recording

The Minister said he did phone the Bank of Greece head Stournaras but did not record their conversation

The matter of Greek Alternate Minister Pavlos Polakis’s €100,000-loan from state-owned Attica Bank, an exclusive story broken by Proto Thema, has led to the Athens Chief Public Prosecutor, Evangelos Ioannidis ordering a preliminary investigation into allegations that Alternate Health Minister Pavlos Pokalis had recorded a phone conversation with the Governor of the Central Bank of Greece, Yiannis Stournaras without the latter’s consent.

According to the order, the competent prosecutor charged with the preliminary probe will first examine if a phone recording of the conversation, a fact Mr Polakis admitted to doing, was carried out without the consent of Yiannis Stournaras. The Prosecutor will then examine if the content of the phone call was leaked website “documentonews”.

The governor of the central bank of Greece has categorically denied he gave his consent for the phone conversation to be recorded, in a statement he released.

“It is historically unprecedented in any European country that a minister of a government intervenes by recording via electronic means a telephone conversation that was not conducted in public, and selectively publicising doctored excerpts to a friendly media outlet in own personal interest”, Mr Stournaras said.

On his part, the Alternate Minister back-pedalled after the initial backlash the revelations caused, posting on Facebook that he had indeed contacted Mr Stournaras and confirmed the content of the conversation, but denied having recorded the conversation.

Sources in the prosecutor’s office said if the investigation found any incriminating evidence against the Minister, the case would be submitted to the Greek parliament and take the normal course when Ministers are involved in penal matters.