January 9, 2008

The Times newspaper, Zachopoulos & the Marbles

Posted at 1:59 pm in Elgin Marbles

The Times newspaper is continuing their attempt to inextricably link Christos Zachopoulos, the former Greek Ministry of Culture general-secretary with the Parthenon sculptures following his suicide attempt before Christmas. As stated previously though, no other English Language press have tried to make this connection. It seems even stranger having made this connection that no one else has, that they then try & imply that the private life of a minister has some bearing on aspects of a campaign that is only loosely connected to him directly. If the Greeks started to query the private life of Neil MacGregor or British Ministers, would The Times agree that their arguments were equally valid, or would they try & suggest that such aspects were irrelevant to the issue.

The Times

January 9, 2008
Sex, lies and DVDs shake culture ministry in Greece
John Carr in Athens

It began as a tale of sex, lies and a secret video recording at the heart of the ministry charged with bringing the Elgin Marbles back to Greece.

But after two apparent suicide attempts and allegations of blackmail and endemic corruption, the affair has called into question the moral authority of the Culture Ministry as it presses its case for the return of the ancient masterpieces.

The juiciest sex scandal in modern Greek memory began when an archaeologist allegedly decided to get revenge on her married boss after he refused to give her a full-time job at the ministry.

Evi Tzekou, 35, is in custody on charges of attempted blackmail after apparently smuggling a camera into the bedroom of Christos Zachopoulos, her lover, and filming more than 100 hours of extramarital sex.

Mr Zachopoulos, the chief of staff at the Culture Ministry, jumped from a fourth-floor flat in central Athens hours after losing his job by prime ministerial order. He remains in a critical but stable condition, unable to talk to investigators.

Ministry staff claim they were privy to “ferocious arguments” between Mr Zachopoulos and Ms Tzekou, in which she demanded €200,000 (£149,000) to stop her “exposing” him after he refused to renew her contract. Ms Tzekou denies charges that she posted copies of the sex tape to media outlets.

The Prime Minister is known to have received a copy of the film last month, and journalists who have seen it say that the DVD contains “typical bedroom action” with no suggestion of political or business wrongdoing. However, ministry sources said they believed that Ms Tzekou took the sexual initiative to blackmail Mr Zachopoulos on behalf of businesses wanting to clear archaeologically listed land for commercial use.

“We know he was able to decide on declassifying archaeological land in favour of developers, and that he had made several such controversial decisions in the past,” one source said.

Media speculation that Mr Zachopoulos could be a victim of blackmail remain unsubstantiated. Last weekend, however, Heracles Koutelidas, a lawyer acting for Ms Tzekou, threw himself in front of a van, claiming that he was the victim of a witch-hunt and had been “labelled a blackmailer by the media”. He survived.

The scandal has sent the popularity of the conservative Government to record lows and has dented the prestige of the Culture Ministry. Mr Zachopoulos was a key official in the campaign for the return of the Elgin Marbles, and there is a widespread sense of shame that the organisation claiming the moral high ground for their return should be racked by scandal.

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