Probe into as­sets of LAOS party chief gains pace

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

An in­ves­ti­ga­tionby a par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee into the “pothen es­ches” (dec­la­ra­tion of source of wealth) forms sub­mit­ted by the leader of the right-wing LAOS party, Gior­gos Karatzaferis, which is ex­pected to be com­pleted by to­mor­row, points to­ward the ex­is­tence of mil­lions of dol­lars in for­eign-based bank ac­counts, sources in­di­cated yes­ter­day.

Karatzaferis, who served as a ju­nior part­ner in Greece’s gov­ern­ing coali­tion from 2011 to 2012, could face a range of crim­i­nal charges in­clud­ing money laun­der­ing if he is un­able to jus­tify the source of the money in those ac­counts.

A ju­di­cial in­ves­ti­ga­tion that prompted the probe by Par­lia­ment’s pothen es­ches com­mit­tee in­di­cated that at least 1.65 mil­lion euros in pay­ments were made to off­shore com­pa­nies con­nected to the right-wing politi­cian by busi­ness­men act­ing as mid­dle­men in the sale of Su­per Puma he­li­copters to Greek au­thor­i­ties. The pay­ments were made in 2007 and 2008, ac­cord­ing to the probe. The deal it­self was signed in 2000 dur­ing the stint as de­fense min­is­ter of Akis Tsochat­zopou­los, now in jail for money laun­der­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to ju­di­cial au­thor­i­ties, Karatzaferis is one of five sus­pects fac­ing charges of bribe tak­ing and money laun­der­ing. One of the other four sus­pects, re­tired army of­fi­cer Ioan­nis Ram­mos, the deputy re­gional gov­er­nor of Fokida, in cen­tral Greece, re­signed yes­ter­day after his name was linked to the probe.

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