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

Athens

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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
News
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world