Panayotis D. Cangelaris - Greek Diplomat and Collector



Until 2000, the progress made by Panayotis D. Cangelaris in the hierarchy of the diplomatic service of the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs was outstanding (This, despite the fact that in 1993 he was caught in the crossfire of a personal confrontation between the then Prime Minister Contstantine Mitsotakis and his Foreign Minister, Antonis Samaras which led to the downfall of the government).  Having served in both Greece and abroad in all manner of living conditions and risk, and having considerable experience in all fields of the diplomatic world (bilateral, multilateral and consular), he was ready, in 1998, to be promoted to the first ambassadorial degree which would have been the culmination of his diplomatic career.

However, contrary to every sense of meritocracy, the Highest Administrative Council of the Foreign Ministry proposed, and the Council of Ministers upheld, a decision to exempt him from the promotions process of 1998 despite his being the 2nd most qualified candidate.  Likewise in 1999 he was passed over again despite being the 3rd most qualified candidate.  The same happened in 2002 too, when, after having sought justice and won his case in court in the Council of State in 2001, he was once again exempted from promotion (not having been rehabilitated so far) with the expedient used being the sole unfavourable evaluation report in his personal file (N.B. this report was written in 1997 by one of his superiors whom Panayotis D. Cangelaris had denounced for serious financial recklessness against the Greek State).  This, despite the fact that all of his remaining evaluation reports were excellent and he had been awarded with six written commendations of which two were prime ministerial (Andreas Papandreou and Constantine Mitsotakis), two ministerial (Karolos Papoulias and Antonis Samaras) and two ambassadorial (Michael Cottakis and Michael Sotirhos).

In 2000, five months after his departure from Islamabad, Pakistan and after having taken up office as the Greek Consul General in Hannover, Germany, he was informed that the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs would not issue him his exequatur, considering him as persona non grata.  This was in spite of the fact that prior to this the German ambassador in Islamabad had honoured him with an official farewell dinner for 30 guests and an official speech at his departure.  As he was later to discover, the German authorities had acted upon information passed to them by the secretary of the embassy and then chargé d'affaires of Greece in Islamabad.  Due to the source of this information they reasonably trusted its veracity and provenance not considering that such information might be the result of the (arguably bona fide or mala fide) personal valuation of an inexperienced diplomat with just three years in the diplomatic service.  As soon as the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs was informed of the German allegations (and not knowing the details of their provenance) they likewise reasonably considered them to be true.  Although a ministerial commission conducted an investigation into the matter, they focused solely upon Panayotis D. Cangelaris ignoring the fact that the original allegations were never proved nor validated.

In what was essentially a malign imagination, the case led to him being suspended and later driven out of his career and subject to the initiation of an impeachment process. This was instigated by the said colleague (who, in 2007, was forced to resign from the diplomatic service for having repeated the same kind of inaccuracies against others) along with an administration who wished to satisfy the German authorities and close the matter with the least delay.  Delays and deferments meant the case remained pending since 2001, thus resulting to a first condemnation of Greece by the European Court of Human Rights (2012) where he sought justice.  This is not uncommon within the Greek judicial system however it is hoped that the ordeal may soon be coming to a close.  The decision of the court is awaited with great impatience as it will, in all expectation, completely and utterly vindicate Panayotis D. Cangelaris of any wrongdoing and restore faith in him amongst the diplomatic community and Greek society in general.  At the same time it is hoped the decision will expose the true guilty parties in this story.   Unfortunately, however, no matter how innocent he is, the stain of guilt will always be with him by association and the ruined career, blighted reputation, financial loss and poor health he suffers now can never be fully recovered to the inconvenience and dismay of his family and the satisfaction of his enemies.







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