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32 suspiciously rich deputies under investigation

23 September 2012 / 13:09:37  GRReporter
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The Ministry of Finance in cooperation with the Sunday papers, is trying to reduce the unpleasant impression created by the so-called "List of the 32", while making attempts to disorient public opinion. It regards 32 names of politicians, checked, at least in theory, in connection with graft. The list is being investigated by the economic police. Different names have "accidentally" leaked on the cover of the Sunday papers. In practice, however, none of the reports advertised on the covers contains a list with the names of the politicians inspected. Instead, well known and discussed cases are mentioned, such as the one of Dora Bakogiannis's husband, Isidoros Kouvelis, who is now in the hands of justice, and therefore is not on the list, or the ones of Spilios Livanos, Michalis Liapis, Giorgos Voulgarakis, Evangelos Meimarakis.

The Office for Combating Economic Crimes (OCEC) and the Ministry of Finance confirmed the existence of the list, which, however, according to Minister Yiannis Stournaras is itself constantly changing. At the end of this week the parliament explained that it would not make any statement until the investigation finishes and the guilt of these individuals is specified.

Meanwhile, the deputy prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Cassation (SCC) began a preliminary investigation in order to prove the existence of this list and whether it contains the names of politicians. Unofficially, however, it is argued that the SCC is cautious about the case and whether evidence of guilt is actually collected.

At the end of the week the Democratic Left deputy Nikos Tsoukalis submitted a query in parliament, insisting that the responsible institutions (OCEC, the Ministry of Finance and Financial prosecutors) make the names of the politicians involved public.

It is noted that money transfers abroad by Deputy Minister of Sport, Yiannis Ioannidis, the wives of former ministers George Alogoskoufis, Sifis Valirakis and Theodoros Roussopoulos, deputy Panagiotis Melas from Independent Greeks, New Democracy deputy Fevronia Patrinakou, etc, are recognized as legal and are declared. The reasons are different - meeting family needs, such as school fees for children and health care coverage. The husband of former deputy Vivienne Bouzali and the wife of former minister Nikos Sifounakis, have stated business activities abroad. Others, such as Euro deputy Silvana Rapti, deputy Akis Gerondopoulos, former chairwoman of parliament Anna Psarouda-Benaki and others, justify their transfers with loan instalments.

There are also justified politicians, because the court has considered that it is not necessary to declare their transfers in foreign banks - Independent Greeks deputy Helena Koundoura, former deputies Dimitris Piperias, Stelios Madzapetakis and Nikos Kortsaris.

According to other information, there is a list of 24 names included in the "List of the 32". Most politicians have said that either they have been acquitted or they have justified their actions. Dora Bakogiannis, George Alogoskoufis, Theodoros Roussopoulos, Yiannis Ioannidis of New Democracy, Costas Droutsas from the Communist Party, Sifis Valirakis, Stelios Madzapetakis from PASOK and others are among these 24 names.

Some of the politicians involved in the lists answered this by saying that they would turn to court.

Evangelos Meimarakis stressed categorically that he is not involved and that on Monday he will address the prosecutor of the SCC to request an immediate investigation. Former Minister Michalis Liapis is surprised that his name is implicated in such lists, and as early as Monday he will bring a claim for defamation against the people who have done it.

Former Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis chose to answer his involvement in the scandal for money laundering in his Twitter profile. He said that "throwing mud against the fan should stop", and that he has taken the necessary legal actions against those who are spreading such allegations.

It is noted that the publication in the newspaper "Real News" is based on the October 2010 complaint by real estate broker Joseph Livanos, who had once worked with Ioannis Karouzos. Karouzos (who is parliament chairman Evangelos Meimarakis's best man) is involved, together with the two former ministers, in tax evasion and illegal profiteering by buying and selling real estate in 2005-2008.

Tags: investigation illegal profiteering Meimarakis Bakogiannis Alogoskoufis Voulgarakis Supreme Court of Cassation
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