NEWS

Park chief axed over wife’s sins

Just over a month after picking a new chairman for the struggling Zakynthos national park, Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias said yesterday he had asked the official to resign over allegations his wife owned an illegal beachfront building on one of the island’s protected turtle nesting areas. Souflias, whose brief includes environmental and town planning issues, claimed to have been unaware of the problem, saying that the official, Nikolaos Lambrakis, had been recommended to him by local authorities on the Ionian island. Lambrakis, an associate professor of hydrogeology at the University of Patras, was appointed in mid-April to head the managing board of the Zakynthos National Marine Park, which hosts the most important nesting colony of the endangered loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta). But environmentalists soon complained that his wife and another close relative owned illegal buildings within the park’s boundaries. The turtle nesting grounds are threatened by tourist development, one of whose worst manifestations is illegal building.