NEWS

Ex-minister steps up fight against graft claims

ex-minister-steps-up-fight-against-graft-claims

Former State Minister Alekos Flambouraris produced documents on Wednesday that he argues prove he did not break any laws in connection to his involvement with a construction firm that won a public contract. However, opposition parties continued to question the validity of the SYRIZA official’s claims.

Since it was revealed on Tuesday that a construction firm in which Flambouraris, a close adviser to SYRIZA chief Alexis Tsipras, held a 50 percent stake signed a 3.9-million-euro contract with the Peloponnese Regional Authority in May, the former minister has given a series of interviews to protest his innocence.

After explaining that he handed in his engineer’s license when he became a cabinet member in January and submitted his papers for retirement, Flambouraris produced a series of documents on Wednesday that he claims prove that he also transferred the shares he owned in the firm, which is called Diatimisi.

The SYRIZA stalwart argued that he was not a minister when the firm won the tender for the project in the Peloponnese and that he ceased to be part of the company before it signed the contract, thereby not breaking the law that prevents ministers from owning shares in companies that take on work for the state.

However, New Democracy, Potami and PASOK questioned whether Flambouraris’s explanation would suffice. Potami leader Stavros Theodorakis called for the ex-minister to make public the notarial act that shows he transferred his shares. This was not among the documents he produced on Wednesday.

Some SYRIZA candidates also distanced themselves from the issue. “This is a moral matter, which each person can interpret in his or her own way,” said former deputy finance minister Dimitris Mardas.