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Bank loans of parties investigated by economic prosecutors

16 January 2012 / 16:01:49  GRReporter
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The well-known economic prosecutors Grigoris Peponis and Spyros Mouzakitis are investigating five Greek banks in the case with the funding of parliamentary parties. In an urgent letter to the financial institutions, they required data on the loan agreements to political parties over the past 15 years. The banks will have to inform court officials whether parliamentary forces pay the loans amounting to millions of euro on time.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Tassos Yanitsis has submitted data on state funding of parties to the committee on institutions and transparency. In 2010, it was 48.8 million euro and in 2011, it even increased to 54,018,624 euro. In 2009, however, the state had been even more generous to the parties. Then funding reached 68,208,000 euro.

According to the data submitted by the independent deputy Eleftherios Avgenakis, the loan agreements to PASOK, New Democracy, the Communist Party and Sinaspizmos from only four banks exceed the amount of 230 million euro. Another private bank granted a loan of 600,000 euro to a large party in December 2011 and in the last two years, it has lent nine million euro to the four parliamentary forces. Of these, only the Communist Party has given a guarantee in the form of mortgage of immovable property. The other three parties have taken the money based on their right to state funding.

Within the judicial investigation, the Interior Ministry and the Parliamentary Committee on Institutions and Transparency are discussing the possibility of reducing the funding of political parties by 25 per cent. The reason is not only the economic crisis, but also the public outrage over the millions that are allocated to parties given the continuing cuts in wages and pensions over the past two years.

According to sources, the deputy Eleftherios Avgenakis and the Professor of Constitutional Law Nikolaos Alivizatos have already testified to the case. The prosecutor Grigoris Peponis has talked to the deputy about the party funding related law and the legal status of the party apparatus. The deputy in turn has submitted to the prosecutor his questions to Parliament in connection with the funding, the lending to parties and the millions received by them.

According to the testimony of Eleftherios Avgenakis, what is sought in this case is "whether the parties  pay their loans regularly, what guarantees each of them has given and who are the representatives of the party and the financial institution responsible for the lending." The deputy has called on the prosecutors to investigate also whether there are other banks that have lent money not only to parties but also to foundations and institutes related to them.

"NGOs, which are related to foundations and which have also received state funding, fall into the same category too. According to the information from the Ministry of Interior, five million euro were allocated to foundations for research in 2011," said Eleftherios Avgenakis.

According to the information provided by him, the Greek parties have taken loans from Agrotiki, Marfin Egnatia Bank, Piraeus Bank and the National Bank of Greece. The loan agreements expire in the period 2013-2015. Attiki Bank has granted the most recent loans and they amount to nine million euro. Of these, five million have been allocated to PASOK and its agreement expires at the end of the year, New Democracy has received two million with a contract until the end of 2014, the Communist Party - 1.8 million and Sinaspizmos - around 400,000 euro.

The person responsible for the finances of the PASOK party has already informed the bank in a letter that the instalment will be paid in early February. According to a senior bank representative, the loan interest amount has already been paid. He stated that for the approval of loans "the funding commission at the bank is responsible, which has made an assessment objectively and without the intervention of senior factors."

The purpose of the investigation by the economic prosecutors is to determine whether the responsible persons in the bank have actually received real or moral guarantees for the loans. And in case they have not - whether they have been unethical to the financial institutions. Based on the information, they will also consider whether the loans are paid regularly and if not, who the culprits for this are.

Tags: PoliticsPartiesState fundingBank loansReal and moral limits
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