NEWS

Gov’t says PASOK overspent on arms

Defense Minister Spilios Spiliotopoulos charged yesterday that the previous government had spent more than 51 billion euros on defense over the past eight years, adding that «billions of euros were transferred from the Greek State’s coffers to banks dealing in ‘black money’ in Eastern Europe and to offshore companies in the Caribbean and South America.» In an interview with Kathimerini published yesterday, Spiliotopoulos added, «All direct allocations of programs are being studied very carefully.» The socialist PASOK party, which lost elections to conservative New Democracy in March, replied yesterday that it was the victim of a smear campaign. It’s government, it said, had «respected legality and transparency in full and, wherever this was violated, had undertaken the initiative to send these cases to the judiciary, as was shown in recent cases in which charges were laid.» PASOK said the amount spent was 25 billion euros. The discrepancy was not explained. «The overall cost exceeds 51 billion euros. This year alone, more than 7 billion will go toward paying debts for arms programs. The same amount will be spent in each of the following two years. These are huge amounts, which would have been sufficient to create exceptionally modern armed forces, especially in training and personal equipment,» Spiliotopoulos said. «Instead, we see every day that purchases were made that were contrary to operational logic and the human element was ignored systematically.» He called on PASOK leader George Papandreou to join in a «’political contract’ to fight corruption.»