NEWS

New Democracy MPs ask for probe into Varoufakis claims

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Forty New Democracy MPs submitted a written request on Wednesday for a parliamentary inquiry into recent revelations by ex-Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis regarding last year’s negotiations with Greece’s lenders and, thereby, putting more pressure on Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras over his former aide’s comments.

Tsipras was questioned about Varoufakis by New Democracy leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis during Tuesday night’s parliamentary debate on pension reform but the premier did not respond.

The conservatives followed up on this on Tuesday by arguing that what Varoufakis said in a recent interview to Skai TV’s “Istories” (Stories) program merited an investigation by the House.

Forty conservative lawmakers, including high-ranking party figures, signed the letter asking the prime minister to request an inquiry into what Varoufakis said, calling his admissions a “major scandal.”

They added that there is an issue of “legal, political and moral responsibility” for the prime minister to answer to. “He appointed and kept the finance minister in place, giving him the right to negotiate on his behalf and to gamble the country’s future and Greeks lives.”

In an op-ed published online by Project Syndicate on Tuesday Varoufakis denied that his actions as minister had damaged business confidence in Greece.

“Business confidence in Greece did indeed plummet a few months after I became finance minister. And it did pick up a month after my resignation,” he wrote.

“But the cause was that our creditors, the so-called troika, made clear that they would close down our banking system to force our government to accept a fresh extend-and-pretend loan agreement.”

Varoufakis insisted that the government last year “had no alternative but to resist the troika’s plan.”