PM accepts resignation of deputy minister over links to offshore firm

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has accepted the resignation of Deputy Merchant Marine Minister Giorgos Vernikos, after SYRIZA revealed the businessman was involved in an offshore company, which contravenes parliamentary rules.

Vernikos, a businessman who was one of PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos?s choices for the cabinet, quit soon after the opposition party pointed out that he was breaking the law by taking up a cabinet position.

In its statement, SYRIZA said that it had ?nothing personal against Vernikos,? recognizing his resistance to the military junta between 1967 and 1974, but highlighted that the law prohibits politicians from being involved in offshore companies. The leftist party said Vernikos had links to a company in the Marshall Islands.

Vernikos is unlikely to be replaced at the ministry. His departure is a further embarassement for Samaras?s fledgling government, which has suffered a series of setbacks since last week, including the prime minister being forced to stay at home for several days after an eye operation.

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