Rape allegations against Greek ex-theatre boss a "crude fabrication"- lawyer

FILE PHOTO: Greek actor and former director of Greece's National Theatre Dimitris Lignadis enters a car as he leaves prosecutor's office escorted by plain clothes police officers in Athens, Greece, February 21, 2021. REUTERS/Costas Baltas/File Photo

ATHENS (Reuters) - Rape allegations against the former director of Greece's National Theatre are a "crude fabrication" and he has filed for his arrest warrant to be revoked, his lawyer said on Wednesday.

Dimitris Lignadis resigned as head of the National Theatre this month and turned himself in on Saturday after an arrest warrant was issued following lawsuits filed against him by two men who say he raped them when they were minors.

Lignadis' case follows other sexual abuse allegations in Greek culture and sport in recent weeks which Greeks have compared to the #MeToo movement.

He denies all allegations. His lawyer, Alexis Kougias, described the evidence against Lignadis as "opaque, from people who offer no credibility."

"In my 50-year-long career I have never come across such a crude fabrication," Kougias told reporters in Athens.

Lignadis is being held in custody until a plea hearing on Thursday.

Kougias said the men accusing Lignadis had said they were 14 and 17 at the time of the alleged abuse and both were Egyptian nationals. He said Lignadis could prove he was not present when the alleged incidents occurred.

He said one of the men had said he had sexual relations with Lignadis for one month, but that Lignadis was not in Greece at the time of the alleged abuse and had travel documents to prove it. In the other incident, he said Lignadis was on holiday in a different part of Greece at the time.

Yannis Vlahos, an attorney representing one of the two men making the accusations, defended his client on state television on Wednesday.

"It is wrong to stain the moral background of the victims for legal defence purposes," he said.

(Reporting by Karolina Tagaris and George Georgiopoulos)

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