Video shows aide to Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras admitting Golden Dawn arrests were ‘sought by government’

Takis Baltakos claims ministers resorted to applying political pressure to secure an investigation into the far-right party


Greece's Prime Minister is at the centre of a political storm, which raises questions over government meddling in the judiciary and its uncomfortable links with the country's extreme-right.

Ilias Kasidiaris, a far-right party MP yesterday revealed a video recording exposing a friendly discussion he had with an aide of the Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras. In the video, Takis Baltakos admits to government intervention in the country's judicial process to elicit prosecutions of Golden Dawn lawmakers.

The revelations risk dampening recent positive developments for the government in austerity battered Greece ahead of municipal and European parliamentary elections that could prove a litmus test for the administration. The Greek economy is expected to grow by 0.6 per cent in 2014 after a six year recession while European finance ministers earlier this week approved an €8.3bn tranche as part of an aid package for the country. Meanwhile, Mr Samaras told Reuters that after four years, the country would shortly return to the markets by selling bonds.

In the video, the aide says there was little evidence to substantiate the arrests of far-right Golden Dawn members prompting government ministers to resort to applying political pressure to secure an investigation. Both the Justice and Public Order ministers deny any wrongdoing.

Mr Baltakos, who was also the government's secretary general, is seen doing a hand gesture of a telephone call, suggesting that ministers called the supreme court's prosecutor to charge Golden Dawn lawmakers in an effort to recover disenchanted right wing voters.

“The investigator has no evidence. Not one [bit],” Mr Baltakos is heard saying in the video. “[The Prime Minister] feared for himself because [Golden Dawn] is undercutting his lead over [opposition party] Syriza.”

Following the video release, Mr Baltakos resigned, apologising for the “trouble he [had] caused”. He said that Mr Samaras had no knowledge of his limited interaction with Golden Dawn which was aimed at winning back voters. Mr Baltakos who is not an elected politician, is seen as belonging to New Democracy's most right-wing core.

The video has also caused tension within the socialist party, which supports the governing coalition. Greece's former socialist PM and current lawmaker, George Papandreou, called for Pasok to withdraw its support from the government.

Meanwhile, opposition party Syriza lambasted the government's intervention in the judiciary, calling for general elections.

“The only solution for the country is general elections, the people must speak and give the answer,” said Syriza MP, Panagiotis Lafazanis

A third of Golden Dawn's lawmakers have been put in pre-trial detention for running and belonging to a criminal organisation linked to a series of crimes, including violent assaults. The prosecutions appeared to curtail the party's soaring popularity although it still ranks high in the polls - the latest of which suggest it's now fourth strongest party in the country.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Recruitment Genius: Content, SEO and PPC Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral