Parties seek joint line on bill to cut GD’s funding

The government and leftist SYRIZA were today to continue talks aimed at reaching a common proposal for a bill that would suspend state funding for parties, such as ultra-right Golden Dawn, whose leaders or deputies are charged with criminal activities, as investigations by judicial, police and financial authorities into the group’s activities gathered pace.

Meanwhile a prosecutor turned down a request by Golden Dawn leader Nikos Michaloliakos, his second-in-command Christos Pappas and another MP, Yiannis Lagos, to be released from pretrial custody so they can attend a vote in Parliament scheduled for Wednesday on whether to lift the immunity of another six GD lawmakers.

According to sources, the government and SYRIZA appeared to be edging toward a compromise on the provisions of the bill concerning state funding, though the leftists reportedly insisted that any suspension should only apply when the charges relate to membership of a criminal organization and should be approved by an enhanced majority of 180 in the 300-seat Parliament. Interior Minister Yiannis Michelakis also discussed the funding issue with officials from smaller opposition parties.

In a related development, officials of the Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) launched an investigation into the finances of the ultra-right party in a bid to trace any suspicious donors or indications of money laundering.

Investigations by the judiciary and the police into Golden Dawn also intensified.

Giorgos Roupakias, the 45-year-old Golden Dawn supporter who has been charged with the murder of leftist rapper Pavlos Fyssas last month, was returned to custody after testifying before a magistrate on additional charges of belonging to a criminal organization. In his testimony, which reportedly contradicted earlier depositions, Roupakias said he stabbed the 34-year-old Fyssas, after being set upon by the latter and a group of friends. He admitted to speaking by telephone with several Golden Dawn members before and after the killing but described his relationship with the party as “loose.” He rebuffed reports that relatives of his worked for the party. Roupakias further contradicted claims by another suspect – a 32-year-old man – who said he was in Roupakias’s car shortly before the fatal stabbing.

A police investigation also intensified on Tuesday with officers confiscating dozens of weapons from the home in the Athens suburb of Voula of Anastasios Pallis, a former associate of shipowner Victor Restis, following a tipoff in connection to their search for a suspected Golden Dawn weapons arsenal. Police seized 20 firearms, all with licenses, and 60 knives as well as two Tasers. Earlier this month, a British man, Edward Pringle-Stacey, wrote to Greece’s Supreme Court with information that he deemed useful for authorities in their search for weapons that Golden Dawn could be hiding.

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