Greek Newspaper Owner Under Indictment Invited to Meet with Bush
WASHINGTON (AP) _ A Greek newspaper owner who was under indictment in New York for Social Security fraud was invited to meet with Vice President George Bush as part of an international group under the auspices of the U.S. Information Agency, officials said today.
The Secret Service learned of the indictment against the Greek citizen, George Koskotas, during a routine background check conducted on White House visitors, officials said. He was arrested, pleaded innocent in New York on Thursday and is to post $1 million bail.
William Reinckens, a public affairs officer for the USIA, said Koskotas, owner of the conservative newspaper Kathimerini, was invited to Washington by the agency as a member of a newly formed international council of opinion makers from 34 countries.
Kristen Taylor, deputy press secretary to the vice president, said Bush addressed the group in a room in the Old Executive Office Building, part of the fenced White House compound, on Oct. 8.
Jane Vezeris, a spokeswoman for the Secret Service, said the agency learned during a background check that there was a warrant outstanding for Koskotas’ arrest and checked with the Internal Revenue Service.
Ernest Acosta, spokesman for the IRS, said Koskotas was arrested in Washington on Oct. 8 on a warrant issued July 16, 1980. He said Koskotas, who formerly ran two painting businesses in New York, was charged in a 64-count indictment with attempting to defraud the government by listing fictitious employes for Social Security purposes.
At his appearance in U.S. District Court in Manhattan Thursday, Koskotas pleaded innocent and agreed to post $1 million cash bail in the next day or two, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office said. The official said Koskotas was free to travel within the United States but restricted from leaving until then. He said Koskotas’ passport would be returned to him when he posts bail. He said a pretrial hearing was set for Oct. 20 before U.S. District Judge Edwin Weinfeld.