NEWS

Explosive spending on arms by PASOK

Greece spent at least $20 billion on arms procurements – one of the largest amounts laid out by any country in the world, based on its economic strength – when PASOK was in power between 1998 and 2004, according to documents seen by Sunday’s Kathimerini. The figure does not include the cost of the C4I security system (some 250 million euros) used during the Athens Olympics and extras attached to the procurement packages. The actual amount spent by the Socialists, therefore, may have topped $30 million. Arms procurement has been one of the key battlegrounds between PASOK and the ruling conservatives since the latter came to power last March. In January, a parliamentary committee delivered its findings after an investigation into deals signed by two former Socialist defense ministers, Akis Tsochadzopoulos and Yiannos Papantoniou. The conservative MPs on the committee claimed that the process of purchasing Russian missile defense systems when Tsochadzopoulos was defense minister was «totally irregular» and accused Papantoniou of being the first minister to go against the advice of the military hierarchy and buy six US radar systems the army did not want. Sunday’s Kathimerini found that the amount spent by Greece on weapons during the six-year period in question was one of the highest outlays on defense as a percentage of GDP of any country in the world. Also, many of the items ordered were either delivered late or did not meet specifications.