Olympiacos supremo Vangelis Marinakis to face trial over corruption scandal
Olympiacos Piraeus and Nottingham Forest owner Vangelis Marinakis will finally face a trial on criminal charges of corruption, the Athens Court of Appeal said on Wednesday.
The 49-year-old shipping magnate is among 28 people who will be put on trial on various charges related to a corruption probe of a criminal organization within Greek football after court authorities announced its decision by a 2-1 majority vote after a 14-month wait.
The appeals judges’ irrevocable order n. 2050/2017 accuses Marinakis of one crime concerning match-fixing - instead of an original proposal by a prosecutor which included five crimes - as well as of a misdemeanor charge regarding the setting up of an organization geared to altering the outcome of matches.
A date for the trial has not yet been announced, but according to court sources it will be in early 2018.
Marinakis later said he was stepping down as president “until the end of the legal process”, handing the role to Yiannis Moralis, while remaining as defiant as ever.
“The Athens Court of Appeal has unanimously rejected the accusations of a criminal organization, fraud, extortion and instigation to cause an explosion as completely unfounded, thus disappointing those envious individuals who were expecting them to be accepted,” Marinakis said in a statement posted on the Olympiacos website.
He added: “My innocence for these remaining accusations will be confirmed in the process that will follow…until the end of this legal process - and for the few months left until I am completely cleared of all charges - I propose to the Board of Directors that the mayor of Piraeus and vice president of Olympiakos, Mr. Yiannis Moralis, should take over the presidency of the club.”
Marinakis has acted swiftly, since he, as well as Levadiakos owner Yiannis Kobotis and Atromitos president Giorgos Spanos, had until November 23 to relinquish control of their clubs as the law states.
Among the other people accused are former Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) officials, former referees and referee officials, soccer players and the Portuguese former coach of Atromitos, Ricardo Sa Pinto.
The scandal, based on activities between 2011 and 2013, is the latest in a long line of corruption case which have plagued Greek football.
It came after the ‘Koriopolis’ match-fixing probe of 2011, when a 173-page document was revealed by prosecutor Aristidis Korreas and prompted a nationwide investigation.
Korreas’ document contained transcriptions of telephone tapping operated by the National Intelligence Service.
It is alleged that Marinakis and EPO officials Giorgos Sarris and Theodoros Kouridis were responsible for directing a criminal organisation from 2011 with the aim of “absolute control of Greek football’s fate by the methods of blackmailing and fraud”.