Politicians snub Athens bourse

None of Greece’s current political party leaders made profits on the stock market in the last 16 years, according to data made public by a parliamentary committee yesterday, which found that 319 deputies and Euro-MPs had invested in shares since 1989. A declaration of assets, or pothen esthes, for 2003 along with backdated personal wealth data from 1989 to 2001 showed that a fairly limited number of the country’s politicians were among those that have invested in the stock market. Just under half of the 666 declarations from the members of Parliament showed that politicians had invested in stocks during the late ’90s boom period on the Athens Stock Exchange. Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, PASOK leader George Papandreou and Communist Party leader Aleka Papariga did not spend or earn any money on equity holdings, according to their declarations. The leader of Synaspismos Left Coalition, Alekos Alavanos, was an exception, having spent 37.7 million drachmas (110,638 euros) on acquiring shares between 1998 and 2001, but the value of his portfolio at the end of 2002 had dropped to 11.3 million drachmas (33,162 euros). The declarations are intended to ensure that officials cannot get away with undeclared income as the source of funds used in major purchases such as real estate, vehicles and stocks. Journalists and judges are also required to submit similar declarations. The parliamentary committee report also showed that a former PASOK deputy, Nikos Floros, appeared to have purchased shares worth 2.5 billion drachmas (7.3 million euros) in 1999, an amount which exceeded his declared income.

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