NEWS

ASE report out today

The controversy surrounding the activities of state portfolio management company DEKA continued to flare yesterday, prompting Parliament speaker Apostolos Kaklamanis to take the extraordinary step of amending the rules of Parliament in order to disclose the contents of a judicial investigation into the case today. The opposition New Democracy party accused the government of using DEKA, an agency dependent on the Finance Ministry, to manipulate the stock market ahead of national elections in April 2000, which the ruling Socialist party narrowly won. Former New Democracy leader Miltiadis Evert provoked a judicial investigation into the matter by suing DEKA president Ioannis Kousoulakos. Evert has been the lead critic of the government’s alleged manipulation of the market, accusing it of trapping hundreds of thousands of investors. The report, which reached Kaklamanis on Friday, refers to the fact that Kousoulakos declared that his every move had been sanctioned by Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou and his then deputy, Nikos Christodoulakis. Under the Greek constitution, as amended this year, the investigating magistrate cannot decide on a minister’s culpability – only Parliament can – but the transmission of the report to Kaklamanis was a sign of ministerial involvement in the case. The government has accused Evert, who revealed the reception of the report by Kaklamanis, of being in collusion with certain elements in the judiciary. Evert yesterday released internal documents of the State Accounting Office which showed that Christodoulakis had approved purchases of shares in high-capitalization stocks such as OTE telecom, National and Commercial banks and Hellenic Petroleum. Evert alleges that purchases of these stocks, which account for 35.96 percent of the general index, kept the index high and forced DEKA to borrow 288 billion drachmas afterwards, in euros, through offshore subsidiaries, to cover its losses. Christodoulakis, now development minister, countered that the documents concerning him only showed that all DEKA operations were public and transparent.