ECONOMY

Full scrutiny of social security funds’ past financial records

The government is urgently starting full and close scrutiny of all social security funds and relevant bodies, following the political turmoil created by the alleged mishandling of some of their reserves. Labor and Social Security Minister Vassilis Magginas has sent a circular to all governors and presidents of funds, ordering them to submit to his ministry or that of Economy and Finance their financial reports for 2006 as well as full data on their properties as soon as possible. He has also asked them to submit all relevant data and reports from previous years by May 25, if they have not done so already. Magginas noted that any omission in submitting accounts and financial reports would allow the Economy Ministry to proceed with cutting their state funding. The minister also decided yesterday to make invalid the tender inviting interest from auditing companies for valuating investments by social security funds in structured bonds, as there was only one bid submitted. Magginas further approved the proclamation of a new tender under the same terms but with a closer deadline. Meanwhile, the Capital Market Commission filed charges yesterday against the Artion stockbrokerage company, providing additional evidence of suspicious transactions to an Athens prosecutor, who forwarded it to prosecutors Grigoris Peponis and Antonis Loyas who are conducting a preliminary investigation into the bonds affair. The charges contain evidence of economic transactions by Artion concerning the purchase of bonds from social security funds. Apart from the activities of the Acropolis securities firm, from 1999 up to the final day of its operation, there are also similar sales and purchases of bonds by other stockbrokerage firms currently being investigated by prosecutors, including Artion for the period between 1999-2002. Sources suggest that the first stage of the investigation will be completed by the end of this month, with the last people to testify being the president and the vice-president of Acropolis, Georgios Apostolidis and Theodoros Priniotakis, as well as the former president of the Civil Servants’ Auxiliary Pension Fund (TEADY), Agapios Simeoforidis.