Questions were raised on Tuesday about the attendance of Greek businessman Ivan Savvidis at the president’s inauguration earlier this month, after he grabbed headlines at the weekend storming onto a football pitch in Thessaloniki apparently armed with a holstered revolver.
Footage from the inauguration ceremony in parliament showed Savvidis, the Russian-born owner of Paok Thessaloniki football club, seated next to attorney-general Costas Clerides.
Not only was Savvidis invited to the event, he was apparently included on the protocol as he was seated in a row reserved for state officials.
Main opposition Akel has addressed a letter to House speaker Demetris Syllouris asking who invited Savvidis and in what capacity.
Speaking on the state broadcaster, Akel MP Stefanos Stefanou – who also attended the president’s inauguration – said the people present were surprised to see Savvidis there.
“It is not just anyone who attends these official events. We want to know precisely by whom Mr Savvidis was invited and in what capacity he was placed on the protocol, which is prepared by parliament,” Stefanou said.
A statement from parliament services said only that the Greek businessman had been included on the list of guests of President Nicos Anastasiades.
For its part, responding to questions over the affair, the police said that everyone entering the parliament building – including Savvidis – went through the security arch at the entrance.
Police said also that Savvidis was not carrying a weapon at the time.
According to initial reports, Savvidis had been invited to the event by Archbishop Chrysostomos.
In an interview, the Archbishop sought to distance himself from Savvidis, denying reports that the businessman was interested in acquiring TVOne, the television channel owned by the Church of Cyprus.
Chrysostomos told a local radio station that he and Savvidis had met only once in the past. The meeting took place in Moscow last December and lasted 10 minutes.
They did not see each other again until the day of the inauguration ceremony, where they spoke briefly.
Other reports, however, stated that Savvidis had arrived in Cyprus days earlier on business.
Savvidis is meantime still being sought by Greek authorities, who initiated a judicial process against him before a prosecutor in Thessaloniki.
Authorities intended to press charges relating to unauthorised entry into a playing ground as well as possession of an item capable of causing bodily harm.
On Tuesday the wanted businessman ‘surfaced’ momentarily with a statement distributed to the media in which he expressed regret for his actions during Sunday’s football game.
In the statement, Savvidis denied having made threats to the match referee.
The referee’s match sheet, published by Greek media, stated that Savvidis was bearing a firearm in a holster.
It further stated that Paok’s technical director Lubos Michel approached the referee in a threatening manner and told him: “You are finished today.”
Flanked by his bodyguards, Savvidis walked onto the pitch during an interruption in the match after the referee disallowed a Paok goal in the 89th minute; until then the match had been a goalless draw.
Following the fracas, Greek authorities suspended first division fixtures indefinitely.