Coali­tion calls for probe into de­fense deals

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

SYRIZA and In­de­pen­dent Greeks (ANEL), the two par­ties that share power in the rul­ing coali­tion, yes­ter­day called for a par­lia­men­tary in­ves­ti­ga­tion into de­fense pro­cure­ments dur­ing So­cial­ist vet­eran Yian­nos Pa­pan­to­niou’s stint as de­fense min­is­ter be­tween 2001 and 2003.

The joint pro­posal pointed to “in­di­ca­tions of breach of faith” in con­nec­tion with the pur­chase of Leop­ard tanks, Apache he­li­copters and elec­tronic warfare sys­tems, among other pro­cure­ments. All po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion par­ties bar the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn backed the SYRIZA-ANEL pro­posal for a probe into the pro­cure­ments.

Com­ment­ing from Paris yes­ter­day, Pa­pan­to­niou de­scribed the ini­tia­tive as “a dis­gust­ing pub­lic re­la­tions stunt which serves nar­row po­lit­i­cal in­ter­ests.” He added, “For 14 years, all the con­tracts of the De­fense Min­istry have come un­der the metic­u­lous scru­tiny of ad­min­is­tra­tive and ju­di­cial au­thor­i­ties and no ev­i­dence, or sus­pi­cion of ev­i­dence, has been found of il­le­gal or ir­reg­u­lar acts or short­falls by me.”

Last month the Supreme Court up­held the four-year jail sen­tences handed to Pa­pan­to­niou and his wife Stavroula Kourakou at a pre­vi­ous trial which found them guilty of sub­mit­ting in­ac­cu­rate dec­la­ra­tion of wealth state­ments (“pothen es­ches”). The court’s crim­i­nal sec­tion re­jected the cou­ple’s ap­peals as “ground­less.” The pair was given the op­tion of pay­ing off their sen­tences.

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