NEWS

Golden Dawn’s finances to be investigated

Magistrates handling an investigation into whether Golden Dawn has been operating as a criminal organization Tuesday sought the help of the Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) and an independent anti-money laundering committee to access the bank accounts of MPs and officials of the ultra-right party.

Judges are reportedly keen to scour the financial transactions of 32 people – including the six MPs arrested last week on charges of belonging to a criminal organization – in a bid to shed light on the party’s activities. It remained unclear when the order would be given to grant access to the accounts.

Judicial authorities also sought the assistance of Parliament in extending their probe, asking the House to lift the immunity of three Golden Dawn MPs – Giorgos Germenis, Panagiotis Iliopoulos and Stathis Boukouras. Although the three MPs face the same charges as their six peers arrested last week, judges sought Parliament’s permission to lift their immunity as they are deemed to pose a less flagrant threat in view of last week’s decision to remand the party’s leadership.

Judicial officials have broadened their probe to include the three MPs after former GD members testifying as witnesses claimed the lawmakers played a key role in organizing assaults on immigrants and training new recruits to the party. Boukouras was said to be storing and trading in weapons and to have had “absolute control” over the party’s activities in Corinth, including attacks on immigrants and protection rackets. Kathimerini understands that Boukouras and Golden Dawn members in Corinth are accused of being involved in a range of crimes, including assaults on leftists and the blackmail of local politicians and businessmen.

According to sources, at least 10 more former GD members and supporters have asked to testify as protected witnesses.

Parliament’s ethics committee is on Wednesday to examine the judiciary’s request for the immunity of the three MPs to be lifted. It will also examine requests to lift the immunity of MPs Ilias Panagiotaros and Ilias Kasidiaris, two of three GD MPs released pending trial last week, for separate cases of disturbing the peace, and of Chrysovalantis Alexopoulos for operating an illegal radio station in Larissa, central Greece.

The MPs are to be summoned by the committee within two days while the House’s plenary session is to convene next week to debate the issue and decide when to vote.

A police crackdown on GD continued Tuesday with the arrest of Yiannis Kazatzoglou, 34, who was allegedly a passenger in the vehicle driven by Giorgos Roupakias on the night of the murder of leftist rapper Pavlos Fyssas last month. Roupakias, who has been charged with Fyssas’s murder though claims to have stabbed the rapper in self-defense, is to defend himself before an investigating magistrate today.