NEWS

Laliotis-New Democracy war rages on

The war of words between outgoing Public Works Minister Costas Laliotis and the New Democracy party, whose honorary chairman Laliotis accused of corruption, intensified yesterday. The government offered full backing to Laliotis’s claims, a public prosecutor launched an inquiry into the charges and Parliament’s committee on institutions and transparency geared up for its own investigation. Laliotis, who is expected to be elected the ruling PASOK party’s general-secretary on Monday, said on Wednesday that former Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis, ND’s honorary chairman, was involved in the account of a Liberian-based company and suggested that suspect money had passed through the account. Laliotis claimed yesterday that there would be a political earthquake when the investigation into the account was conducted and said that Mitsotakis would share the fate of former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, who has admitted to taking money for his party while in office but refused to reveal the donors. Mitsotakis, responding to accusations dating from 1993, when his government was voted out of office, said that Laliotis was repeating his mud-slinging. He added, These are wretched claims. ND spokesman Theodoris Roussopoulos rejected the claims of secret accounts. Three ND deputies yesterday filed suit against Laliotis claiming 3 billion drachmas in damages. Laliotis had claimed they acted in the interests of foreign companies in accusing him of mismanaging Greece’s land register. He repeated the charge yesterday. Meanwhile, about 500 students and anti-globalization protesters staged an anti-war rally from central Athens to the US Embassy early yesterday afternoon, paralyzing traffic. No incidents were reported.