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Top Greek official resigns over secret video 'proving persecution' of Golden Dawn

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Top Greek official resigns over secret video 'proving persecution' of Golden Dawn
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The Greek prime minister’s chief political adviser has resigned over a secretly filmed video in which he allegedly says the government was behind a judicial clampdown on the far-right.

Panayiotis Baltakos was reportedly filmed last autumn during a meeting at the Greek parliament with an MP from the ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn party.

According to the politician, Ilias Kasidiaris, the video shows the investigation into the party’s activities was politically motivated.

‘‘It’s a confession by one of the most senior government officials that Golden Dawn was persecuted… because in taking votes away from Samaras (the prime minister), it leaves the left wing opposition ahead in the polls,’‘ Kasidiaris said in parliament on Wednesday.

Police have been investigating whether Golden Dawn was linked to a series of violent attacks including at least one murder.

‘‘There was no political intervention by the judiciary, besides if there was an intervention Mr Kasidiaris and some of his party colleagues wouldn’t have been set free pending their trial,” Justice Minister Charalambos Athanasiou replied, also speaking in the chamber.

Several leading figures from Golden Dawn are in custody. Also on Wednesday parliament voted to strip five of its MPs of their legal immunity, paving the way for more criminal charges.

Euronews correspondent in Athens Stamatis Giannisis said:
“The revelation of this video comes at a time when the ultra right wing party’s poll performance has taken a downward turn, following the arrests and incarceration of its leadership on criminal charges last September. But the real political consequences, if any, will appear in less than two months from now when Greeks vote in elections for both the European Parliament and local government.”