NEWS

Probe into assets of LAOS party chief gains pace

An investigation by a parliamentary committee into the “pothen esches” (declaration of source of wealth) forms submitted by the leader of the right-wing LAOS party, Giorgos Karatzaferis, which is expected to be completed by Wednesday, points toward the existence of millions of dollars in foreign-based bank accounts, sources indicated on Monday.

Karatzaferis, who served as a junior partner in Greece’s governing coalition from 2011 to 2012, could face a range of criminal charges including money laundering if he is unable to justify the source of the money in those accounts.

A judicial investigation that prompted the probe by Parliament’s pothen esches committee indicated that at least 1.65 million euros in payments were made to offshore companies connected to the right-wing politician by businessmen acting as middlemen in the sale of Super Puma helicopters to Greek authorities. The payments were made in 2007 and 2008, according to the probe. The deal itself was signed in 2000 during the stint as defense minister of Akis Tsochatzopoulos, now in jail for money laundering.

According to judicial authorities, Karatzaferis is one of five suspects facing charges of bribe taking and money laundering. One of the other four suspects, retired army officer Ioannis Rammos, the deputy regional governor of Fokida, in central Greece, resigned on Monday after his name was linked to the probe.