SYRIZA’s call for a probe into submarine deal runs aground

SYRIZA failed in its bid on Wednesday to have Parliament launch an inquiry into a stalled deal for the completion of three Hellenic Navy submarines at Skaramangas Shipyards, west of Athens.

The opposition party was expected to lose the vote as New Democracy had made clear it would not back the proposal, primarily aimed at examining PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos’s role in the signing of deal when he was defense minister in 2010 with Abu Dhabi Mar, which owns 75 percent of the shipyards. However, the fact that Democratic Left and independent MP Andreas Loverdos also voted against the motion meant that SYRIZA suffered a heavy defeat.

In total, only 120 of 300 lawmakers backed the proposal, while 167 voted against it.

Earlier, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras had blamed Venizelos for a deal which saw the government pay 360 million euros in 2010 only for work on the submarines to stop in 2012 and the employees to have been unpaid since then. “Either you were the victim of a major scam… or you were part of it,” said Tsipras.

Venizelos responded by accusing SYRIZA of serving the interests of companies seeking to benefit from offset agreements in the defense sector. The PASOK leader referred specifically to the role of a retired air force officer, Yiannis Tafyllis, who is a member of SYRIZA’s secretariat. Tsipras told Venizelos to hand over to prosecutors any evidence to back up his allegations.

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