By Paul Nicholson
November 8 – Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis is to stand down as chairman of the club while the judicial proceedings regarding the match-fixing allegations against him are completed.
Marinakis yesterday had four criminal charges against him dropped by the Athens Judicial Council of Appeals. The charges dropped were allegations of extortion, arson, fraud and participating in a criminal organisation – the arson charge related to the causing of an explosion at the bakery premises of a Greek referee.
Marinakis, in a statement, has said that he fully expects to be exonerated and that the Mayor of Piraeus and Vice President of Olympiacos, Giannis Moralis, will take the chair until the proceedings are concluded.
Marinakis blames the allegations against him that were dismissed on the “envy” of his detractors in what is a very emotionally charged and bitterly vicious political football market landscape in Greece.
“The Judicial Council of Appeals, a three-member panel of senior judges that reviews prosecutorial complaints, has unanimously rejected the charges related to membership in a criminal organisation, fraud, extortion and arson, previously raised against me and other persons in Greek football, as absolutely unfounded and has thus left exposed those that rushed into adopting these baseless accusations to satisfy their envy,” said Marinakis.
“The Judicial Council on the other hand could not reach a unanimous decision, when it found that certain match fixing charges be upheld against me and another 27 persons. The 2:1 majority vote will be tested in court, as the chair of the Judicial Council expressed the dissenting view that those charges will have to be dismissed as well.
“I am certain that my innocence with regard to these remaining charges will be demonstrated by the judicial process that will ensue, thus fully exonerating me and vindicating the stated opinion of the chair of the Judicial Council.”
“Until the conclusion of the proceedings and for the few months remaining until my full exoneration, I propose to the board of directors of Olympiacos F.C. that the position of the Chairman of the board to be taken over by the Mayor of Piraeus and Vice President of Olympiacos F.C., Mr Giannis Moralis.”
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