Central banker decries leak of ‘unauthorized’ phone call recording


Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras on Tuesday called for a judicial intervention over the publication by Alternate Health Minister Pavlos Polakis of an “unauthorized” recording of a telephone call from the latter to the former.

In a statement published in the wake of transcripts of part of the conversation held between Stournaras and Polakis being leaked to the media on Monday, Stournaras said he had not granted permission for the recording, which he described as a “gross institutional transgression.”

“Yesterday's action by a representative of the executive branch to attempt to influence the manner in which I carry out my duties in such an unprecedented fashion compels me to provide clear explanations,” Stournaras said.

The conversation between the two men concerned a decision by Stournaras earlier in the day to question the management of Attica Bank – which is under the purview of the Bank of Greece and not of the European Central Bank – over a decision to grant Polakis 100,000 euros' worth of personal loans secured against a property with a 300,000-euro mortgage.

In the leaked transcripts, Polakis is seen demanding that Stournaras also call for a probe into loans granted to certain political parties, officials and media, “otherwise I will come down there and will not leave if you do not order an inquiry.”

The recording, Stournaras said on Tuesday, was made “without my consent and in violation of the relevant provisions of the criminal code.” He added that judicial authorities need to intervene over the matter by virtue of their office, while also calling on Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and the government to safeguard the Bank of Greece's independence.