An UNFOLLOW magazine reporter received threats on his life by a man self-identified as oil magnate Dimitris Melissanidis of Aegean Oil, after publishing a report that implicates the company in an oil smuggling scandal.The threats were discussed in the plenary session of the Greek Parliament, brought up by SYRIZA spokesman Dimitris Papadimoulis, and answered in true government form by New Democracy spokesman Makis Voridis. Here is a video of the discussion, subtitled in English:

SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left, the Main Opposition party) was evidently alarmed by the alleged threats on reporter Lefteris Charalampopoulos’s life, which were, according to UNFOLLOW magazine, made by Aegean Oil magnate Dimitris Melissanidis. However, what the Opposition seems to also have found worrisome in a larger sense is that through the publicity generated by the magazine’s public announcement of the threats, it was revealed that Mr Melissanidis’s attorney is Mr Failos Kranidiotis, an acute public advocate of authoritarian government, and a close friend and unofficial adviser to the Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.

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UNFOLLOW magazine reporter receives threats by man self-identified as oil magnate Dimitris Melissanidis of Aegean Oil, after publishing a report that implicates the company in an oil smuggling scandal.

On January 31st, the latest –14th– issue of UNFOLLOW magazine hit the newsstands all over Greece. Among other reports, we published one on oil smuggling in Greece – specifically the practice of oil carrier companies to buy oil at reduced-tax rates and channel it back into the market at the normal price.

Dimitris Melissanidis

Dimitris Melissanidis

We also published two reports by the 7th Piraeus Customs Authority, with detailed findings on how two major oil companies engaged in this practice. One is ELPE (Hellenic Petroleum), where the principal shareholders are the Greek state and Spiros Latsis. The other is Aegean Oil, which is run by Dimitris Melissanidis – albeit without an official position, though his brother, Iakovos, holds a post on the board. Finally, in our report we pointed out that although Aegean Oil officials have been charged with smuggling and forgery, their trial has been postponed four times already, while the state attorneys were absent on all four occasions.

Aegean Oil is truly colossal. Among other things, it supplies the American navy, and one of its associated companies trades in the New York stock exchange. A new trial regarding the smuggling and forgery charges is set for February 12th. Media attention in Greece has been, unsurprisingly, non-existent.

ELPE is set to be fully privatized soon, according to the privatization program imposed on Greece by the troika. The front-runner to acquire state owned shares is Spiros Latsis. At the same time, Dimitris Melissanidis is poised to buy the also soon to be privatized OPAP, the state company that holds a monopoly on gambling.

On the day following the publication of UNFOLLOW 14, February 1st, there was a phone call to the office of UNFOLLOW. The number was +30 210 4586000, the caller asked for reporter Lefteris Charalampopoulos, who has written the report, and identified himself as Dimitris Melissanidis.

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