By Andy Dabilis | Greek Reporter
Seven former ministers in New Democracy Conservative and PASOK Socialist administrations are being investigated for alleged corruption as Greece’s financial crimes squad SDOE is continuing its hunt for government figures and others who have evaded taxes and collected fortunes.’
The newspaper Kathimerini reported that four were with PASOK and three with New Democracy, whose current leader, Antonis Samaras, is Prime Minister overseeing an uneasy coalition with PASOK and the tiny Democratic Left. One of the seven is still an MP for the conservative party and has served as a minister in several posts in the past. The other two politicians from New Democracy no longer have seats in Parliament. None of the members of PASOK being investigated are serving politicians.
The Supreme Court asked prosecutors 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. A parliamentary committee is due to meet on Sept. 26 to discuss SDOE’s investigation and whether the House should also launch its own probe.
In an interview with Sunday’s Kathimerini, the former head of SDOE, Yiannis Diotis – who was replaced by someone from Samaras’ home area of Messenia – said that he left behind “a lot” of case files relating to politicians when he was replaced at the department.
“There is a lot of material to be investigated,” he said. “There are detailed probes taking place that are of major interest and prosecutors are fully aware of what is going on.” Diotis said that some cases relate to arms procurement programs, fuel smuggling and medicines.
He denied, however, that there had ever been political interference in SDOE while he was in charge. “I will respond categorically and clearly: there was never any intervention, nor was any attempted,” he said.
Diotis accepted, though, that there was some level of corruption within the public administration and that new standards have to be set for civil servants. “Today, we have to rediscover the meaning of duty,” he said. “Civil servants have to follow one simple rule: To be the first to do exactly what they demand of others.”