PM, MPs reveal trades

Prime Minister Costas Simitis and six of his PASOK party’s deputies yesterday sent parliamentary authorities documents revealing all their trading on the stock exchange between 1998 and 2003, following his declaration earlier this month that all PASOK MPs will voluntarily open their stock trading to scrutiny. New Democracy party leader Costas Karamanlis, however, accused the government of being afraid of revelations of party officials handling public money in its refusal to accept an ND proposal for an amendment calling for a law forcing all MPs as well as the heads of public organizations and state functionaries to reveal their finances. He said this showed that corruption and the entanglement of political and business interests reached into the state administration. Karamanlis rejected Simitis’s challenge to have his own party’s MPs open their trading accounts to scrutiny, saying that these could be inspected at any time by Parliament’s Finance Committee. «Inspect us, take a fine-tooth comb to us. But what is at issue is the publication (of the accounts). We want full publicity,» Karamanlis said in Parliament. «With the prime minister’s feudal proposal, the whole of Parliament and especially his MPs are defamed while the chairmen of public utilities, the governors of state banks remain immune. We want the stock trading of all MPs to be under permanent scrutiny. But we cannot have MPs defamed by party decisions while those who are primarily to blame for the crime on the stock exchange should enjoy scandalous immunity,» Karamanlis said. He called for inspections into the governors of National, Commercial and Agricultural banks. In response, Interior Minister Costas Skandalidis accused Karamanlis of encouraging a climate of instability in the economy, at a time when the Athens Stock Exchange is righting itself and has begun to behave more in line with developments in the European economy. He described ND’s proposal as something that could not be applied, saying also that ND was trying to break down open doors regarding scrutiny of all MPs trades because Simitis has already prohibited MPs, regional governors and mayors from investing in the stock market. Skandalidis rejected ND’s opposition to the Capital Markets Commission scrutinizing trades, saying it was the institutionally competent organ. ND has asked for a roll call vote on its proposal today.

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