Farcical ending to Koriopolis scandal
The legal proceedings in the biggest match-fixing scandal in the history of Greek football, “Koriopolis”, have ended in farce with the news that almost all of those who faced charges have been found innocent.
After a total of eight years in the courts and with more than 100 suspects initially, of which 26 were charged, only 11 of them were convicted by a Five-Member Appeals Court in Athens on Friday. Not only that the charges they have been convicted of are characterized as minor in nature.
The Greek media is already calling the situation “a parody of a decision”, considering the scale of the scandal and those involved.
Koriopolis, a pun on the name of the Italian scandal of Calciopoli in 2006, and the Greek word korios (phone tap), was the name given to the scandal by the Greek press when it came to light in June 2011.
It was a huge investigation involving some of the leading figures in the game from clubs, the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) and beyond, and centred on offences that included illegal gambling, fraud, extortion and money laundering.
Among the most notable figures involved were Volos mayor and former Olympiakos Volou owner and president Achilleas Beos, former Super League president and Asteras Tripolis owner Giorgos Borovilos and main stakeholder Dimitris Bakos.
Also involved were Levadiakos strongman Yiannis Kobotis, who has since formally sold his stake in the Super League club, and the former president of Ilioupoli soccer club Giorgos Tsakoyiannis.
From all the defendants, only Tsakoyiannis received a jail sentence, and a suspended one at that for just 27 months for being found guilty of illegal betting and money laundering.
The likes of former Greek international Avraam Papadopoulos, and former Apollon Smyrnis player Costas Mendrinos, who had been charged with illegal betting were also found innocent.
LATEST SCANDAL STILL UNDER INVESTIGATION
The decision on the Koriopolis case means that the signs for the ongoing probe from Greek football’s latest scandal, which emerged in 2015, do not appear good in terms on bringing convictions.
The 2015 scandal as unearthed on 6 April 2015 when prosecutor Aristidis Korreas' 173-page work was revealed. Telephone tapping operated by Greece’s National Intelligence Service has played a significant role in the case.
According to Korreas’ conclusion, the suspects involved, which included Olympiacos owner Vangelis Marinakis - who has since had charges against him dropped - along with EPO members Theodoros Kouridis, and Georgios Sarris are suspected of directing a criminal organization since 2011.
The goal behind their scheme was to "absolutely control Greek football's fate by the methods of blackmailing and fraud",exploiting the self-governing ("autonomy") status of national football federations promoted by FIFA and UEFA, said Korreas’ report.
Referees, judges, football directors and chairmen are also involved in the scandal which is ongoing in the courts.
Greece’s Supreme Court dismissed all charges against Marinakis back in March 2018 related to match-fixing and the creation of a criminal gang within Greek football.
The country’s highest three-judge court rejected Deputy Supreme Court Prosecutor Haralambos Vourliotis’ revocation of a ruling regarding the charges, while at the same time rejected the initial filing of charges regarding the creation of a criminal organisation.
This effectively means that the Supreme Court has annulled the entire legal reasoning in the case and that definitively and irrevocably, Marinakis will not face criminal charges regarding these offences.