The key prosecution witness in the case reported to the authorities an attempt to bribe him by the lawyer of the two accused fishermen for the death of Sifis Valyrakis.
B.A., who had spoken exclusively to “BAM in Reportage” after the thriller deposition in the Homicide Department, revealed that the defendant’s defense attorney, Dimitris Karvelis, tried to bribe him by offering him 40,000 euros if he denied what he had testified. According to what the witness reported at the time, the two fishermen, after an argument with the former minister, hit him with a pole, causing him to fall into the water. As proved by the coroner’s report, Sifis Valyrakis died as he was fatally struck by the fin of their fishing boat.
Sifis Valyrakis and the boat he was on when he met his tragic death
“The lawyer of the two fishermen sent the best man of B.B. who had baptized his son and we are related. He found me and said: Dimitris Karvelis wants you to talk. Do you mind having a coffee with him?’ says the key witness to “M”: I say to him, “what can we say? I haven’t even spoken to him. One or two conversations will tell you what to say.” I say to him: “Are you crazy?” Then he tells me: “Here’s what you’ll get.” He writes me 40,000 euros on a piece of paper in front of a third person!”.
The revelations of the “key” witness in the Valyraki case are shocking
As the prosecution witness described, the first meeting with the lawyer’s best man took place at the club where he was. “It bothered me many times. He called me and found me there. Everything is recorded” added B.A.
The second meeting, according to what he is complaining about, took place in a cafe at the old bus station of Chalkida on Thursday, July 7, 2022, one day before the decision to release the two defendants on bail.
“We met in the cafeteria, Karvelis, B.V. (best man) and K.V. (lawyer’s baptismal name). The lawyer says to me: ”You will say two things”. I answered him, “Mr. Karvelis, I respect you, as a patriot and as a lawyer, I have given a statement, it is not possible to say one moment and deny the other”. He says, “I’ll get them out of jail on bail, but it’s my goal to finish once and for all.” It’s a shame to educate ourselves now. We would all win from this case”.
According to what was reported by B.A. at the Extortion Prosecution Department of Attica Security, Karvelis asked him to go the next day with another lawyer and testify that on the day Valyrakis was killed, he was not in Eretria and that he did it to help the family of the former minister . “I would go on Friday July 8 at 10.30 in the morning with lawyer P. and not with him, because it could not look natural” the eyewitness said in his statement to the authorities.
The area where Valyrakis was killed
“”I should be seen and you should be punished,” their advocate told me. I told him “these things don’t happen, I have already testified”. “Take your time,” he tells me, “and B.B. will pick you up tomorrow.” let’s arrange, I’ll have a lawyer too. I repeated to him that it is not possible,” added the eyewitness.
As he told us, the next day on 8/7/2022, when the decision of the Chalkida Criminal Council was announced to release the accused on bail and restrictive conditions, his relative contacted him again: “He called me and said: ‘ You will get a small change even now, but the tariff has changed. They will give you four to five thousand euros because they did a fundraiser to pay the guarantee and they don’t have it.” According to his complaint, the witness told B.V. that no matter how much money they gave him there was no way he would change his testimony.
The following Monday, July 11, the two fishermen were released after paying bail. “I immediately reported everything that happened to the authorities. There is no communication with the Valyrakis family, but I have dignity. I would never and for nothing accept to take money” he told us.
BA, who named the two fishermen from Eretria as suspects to the authorities, who are accused of intentional homicide, was the victim of a beating last February. “They beat me to terrorize me: “Be careful what you say where you go and how you say it.” There were five, the four got off. All four were shaking. They go to cover the two, so that one can go in.”
Speaking exclusively to “M”, he had said since last year that he has been receiving threats even for his relatives. “From the time I testified to the Homicide Department until today, I have been subjected to merciless bullying by people known to the defendants and their lawyer,” he had said.
The main eyewitness of the case claims that he was in Pezonisi, Eretria, almost 150 meters away from the spot where the former minister disappeared. As he told us, he was present at the moment when Sifis Valyrakis fell, beaten, into the sea, after an intense argument with the two fishermen, who had approached him with their boat.
The lawyer of the witness, Mr. Dimitris Bardis, confirmed to us that his client has testified about the attempted bribery at the T.A. Chalkida and in the Prosecution of Extortionists of the Attica Security. As he mentioned, the Court is fully informed about the matter. At the same time, a public prosecutor’s investigation is underway following lawsuits he filed on behalf of his client.
Initially the two defendants sued their client for defaming them. “We have responded to this lawsuit with two lawsuits, which are in the preliminary examination stage. The first lawsuit was filed in November 2021.”
Following the second suit filed last year in May, the prosecutor is looking into the possibility that senior government officials, such as the central harbor master, are involved in serious offenses such as dereliction of duty and abuse of power. “When Valyrakis died, there was a background that the case would be covered up and that they would make it look like a maritime accident,” he added.
As Mr. Bardis told us, the central harbor master was trying to convince his client that he should not report what he had seen. B.A. he initially gave a different statement, but he immediately went and reported everything to the Homicide Division. After that an attempt was made to silence him so that he would not speak to the investigator. “People of the night approached him and beat him. Persons who have a friendly relationship with the accused”.
Mr. Bardis emphasized that the eyewitness had informed the former lawyer of the Valyrakis family from the very beginning, but he never sought to meet him.