Real News: SDOE Probes Three Former Ministers for Money Laundering

Posted by in Politics

A ‘mega bomb’ exploded on Saturday in Athens when a weekly newspaper with front page “Testimony Burns 3 Ministers” claimed that two former ministers and the current parliament speaker have been alledgedly involved in money laundering scandal.  

In its exclusive story Real News  refers to the written testimony of a real estate businessman on a case currently under investigation by the Financial Crimes Units (SDOE) about money laundering through the purchase of real estate worth 10.2 billion euro for the time 2005-2008.

“The names of former Ministers Michalis Liapis and Giorgos Voulgarakis and parliament speaker Evaggelos Meimarakis are mentioned in the testimony. they are all members of conservative Nea Dimocratia, the strong partners in Samaras’ coalition government.

In a statement, Parliament Speaker Evangelos Meimarakis said: “I just came back from abroad, I learned that my name had been involved in  a case published in the newspaper Real News.

I  categorically declare that I have no involvement and that on Monday morning I will visit the Prosecutor of the Supreme Court to ask for an immediate investigation and detection of this case. Evidently I reserve all my legal rights. ”

Prompt was the reaction of Liapis who said he did not know any of the persons [some other names mentioned as well by the businessman]. And he filed a lawsuit for libel.

Voulgarakis chose the social media for his reaction and posted on the Twitter that he would file a lawsuit as well.” (Real News)
 
So far, there is not much reaction from the political world for obvious and logical reasons.
 
However this is a big blow for Samaras government in general and for the Parliament in particular, especially if one adds the news below.
 
In order to probe current a former ministers a special investigation parliament committee has to be established, as holders of government positions are protected by the law that makes it difficult for them to be held responsible.
 
According to Kathimerini, the number of former ministers under SDOE investigation are seven:

“Seven politicians who held ministerial positions are among the public figures that the Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) is investigating for alleged corruption, Sunday’s Kathimerini understands.

The Supreme Court asked prosecutors a few days ago to look into reports that SDOE had a list of 32 politicians and public servants it was probing after discovering unusually large sums in their bank accounts.

Sources told Kathimerini that seven of those being investigated have served in previous governments: four with PASOK and three with New Democracy” (Full Story)

 
The allegations come just days after Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras confirmed media reports that there was a list with 32 politicians currently under investigation by SDOE for corruption. However as the society boils due to the upcoming additional austerity package it looks that somebody decided to roll the stones of relevations and apparently leaked the names to the press. Or just to distract the public while their incomes will be decreased again. However I have the suspicion that the leakages to the press are done under order from above.
 
Proto Thema publishes a list of with the names of former and current members of the parliament from five political parties. They are allegedly under investigation for “strange enrichment” and that they have transferred money abroad.
 
 SDOE investigates also 24,000 rich people who transferred abroad 11 billion euro but who cannot explain the amount with this stated in their income declaration.
 
SODe allegedly seeks a third list containing the names of 1,991 account holders in Swiss banks. “The CD was handed by Christine Lagarde to the Greeks, but it went … missing.” (Proto Thema)
 I read in Kathimerini that PM Antonis Samaras plans to address the citizens in the next days in order to bolster public support for the austerity package. 
 
Or to announce government and parliament reshuffle…???
 
UPDATE : According to Greek media, Parliament Speaker Meimarakis apparently considers even to resign in order not to be a burden to Samara’s government.
In a later development, according to state broadcaster NET, Meimarakis set his resignation at the disposal of the political leaders participating at Samaras’ coalition government.