Prosecutor looks into arms furor

An Athens prosecutor ordered an urgent investigation yesterday into claims by two former top Defense Ministry aides that Defense Minister Yiannos Papantoniou acted against the country’s interests by favoring business interests, and sanctioned illegal acts by his close associates. Meanwhile, opposition New Democracy tabled a question in Parliament on the matter, asking the ministry to provide details on weapons-buying programs approved by the Government Council on Foreign Policy and Defense over the past five years. ND deputies also called for an examination of the assets and funds-source declarations filed over the past 10 years by current and former members of the state armaments and ammunitions industries, EBO and PYRKAL, which have now been merged. The furor followed allegations this week by the former head of the ministry’s Institute for Defense Analysis and the former chairman of EBO-PYRKAL, of corruption among ministry officials – particularly concerning procurements. Papantoniou has denied any wrongdoing.

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