NEWS

Minister in charge of mines had one

Deputy Development Minister Alexandros Kalafatis, whose portfolio includes overseeing the country’s natural resources, appears to have been involved in a mining company and quarry himself. Responding to a brief report in the Greek edition of Kathimerini yesterday, which named neither him nor the company, Kalafatis denied he was involved in any way (either now or in the past) in the Ionian Kalk mining company on the island of Cephalonia, saying this was evident from his tax statements and declarations of assets. The company, Kalafatis said in a statement, belonged to his brother and had existed in the same place for 70 years. Ionian Kalk, he said, had had a permit to function until October 4, 2008 but, when the Environment Ministry rejected an environmental impact study by the company, the Development Ministry, which learned of this on April 17, withdrew the company’s permit immediately. Kalafatis said, «I think you will find that the Development Ministry did not remain inert but acted immediately… 20 days ago as soon as it got the competent agencies’ proposals,» he said. But official documents published by Kathimerini’s Greek edition today indicate that the quarry operated by the company is owned by the heirs of P. Kalafatis – that is the deputy minister, his brother Ioannis and their late sister. All documents pertaining to the quarry’s functioning – as in a Development Ministry demand for safety measures to be taken in May 1999 – were sent to these owners. The minister had also sat on the board of Ionian Kalk in the past, although not on that of «Ionian Kalk of Northern Greece,» formed in October 2000.