Greek prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into an alleged aborted secret service plot to assassinate the country’s former Prime Minister over a gas deal with Russia, the Athens News Agency reported.
Kostas Karamanlis, who was Prime Minister for the conservatives from 2004 to 2009, was thought to be in danger over the agreement that allowed Greece to join the South Stream pipeline project in 2008, which is to deliver Russian natural gas to Europe, media reports said earlier.
The prosecution decided there was enough evidence to open criminal proceedings after questioning witnesses from Greek police, the secret services and Karamanlis’ bodyguards, the Athens News Agency said late Wednesday. No suspects were named.
The attack was allegedly being prepared by the secret services of an unspecified country, a Greek ally; however, it was aborted after Russian secret services caught wind of the plan and warned Karamanlis, the Greek weekly newspaper Epikaira reported last year.
Prosecutors will also look into reports that the same foreign conspiracy was behind street riots in Greece in 2008, triggered by the killing of a teenager by police.
Russia, Bulgaria, Italy, Serbia, Hungary, Slovenia and Austria are also among the participants of the South Stream project, which is to be completed by 2015. The pipeline is a rival to Nabucco, which is to pass through Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Austria. South Stream also bypasses Ukraine, which currently earns billions of dollars a year from transit fees for Russian gas.
Karamanlis, 55, heir of a prominent Greek political dynasty, has kept a low profile after losing his job in legislative elections in 2009 and did not comment on the alleged assassination attempt.