MPs crossed swords in Parliament on Tuesday during a debate on whether a special House committee should be set up to conduct a preliminary investigation into the allegations against Yiannos Papantoniou but ultimately accepted the government’s proposal for a probe.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras declared that the inquiry would uncover significant evidence, including possible insights into the Athens stock market bubble in the late 1990s.
Though backing the need for the investigation, the political opposition was virtually united in questioning the government’s motives for calling it now, accusing the coalition of attempting to distract public opinion from dragging bailout negotiations with creditors.
Papantoniou and his wife Stavroula Kourakou have already been convicted for trying to hide 1.3 million euros in a Swiss bank account from Greek authorities.
Papantoniou, 67, served under socialist PASOK as defense minister from 2001 to 2004, and economy minister from 1996 to 2001. The deals he signed during that time have been under the scrutiny of corruption prosecutors for years.