New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis has called on the government to explain itself over an amendment included in the recent multi-bill, which removes the blanket ban on politicians and public officials being involved in offshore firms.
“We are asking why the government did this,” he told ANT-1 TV. “They should explain who this provision is for.”
PASOK and To Potami have joined New Democracy in demanding explanations from the government after the change in the legislation was reported by Proto Thema newspaper over the weekend. Mitsotakis admitted that his party had failed to spot it, blaming the fact that MPs had to get through 7,500 pages of draft legislation in 48 hours.
Before the amendment, politicians were banned from holding any stake in offshore firms. The new legislation only prevents them from being involved in companies that are not deemed to cooperate on tax issues.
The government said that the change was made following a recommendation by the Council of Europe’s GRECO anti-corruption unit and seeks to establish a clear legal framework.
Mitsotakis, though, insists that the new law appears to give politicians and public officials greater leeway in terms of their business activity abroad.
“We are asking the government to explain the situation because it is difficult for citizens to understand why politicians should be allowed to have involvement in offshore firms,” he said.
The Justice Ministry has said it is open to proposals from the opposition parties regarding improvements to the new law, which it denies is designed to provide legal cover for any existing politicians.