The Public Portfolio Management Company (DEKA) played a «dirty game» in 2000 as it manipulated stock prices during the pre-election period, New Democracy Deputy Miltiades Evert told a courtroom yesterday. Evert, the conservative party’s ex-president, was the first witness to testify at a trial held to determine whether the former chairman and five board members of DEKA are guilty of breach of faith by buying stocks before the parliamentary elections in order to artificially maintain high prices and boost the benchmark general index. «It was a dirty game which resulted in a huge loss for the state,» Evert said. The previous PASOK government has been accused of ordering the acquisition of shares in state-owned companies as a means of gaining political ground. Buying in shares such as National Bank was heaviest about five days before the April 9 elections, when about 457 million euros was spent on shares, according to Evert. The court decided yesterday that the DEKA officials should face the lesser charge of breach of faith rather than direct complicity.