Karamanlis pulls plug on Paleokrassas

The president of the Public Power Corporation (PPC), Yiannis Paleokrassas, resigned yesterday after failing to support comments he made in an interview with Sunday’s Kathimerini suggesting that government officials were linked to corrupt practices at the firm. Paleokrassas announced his resignation yesterday afternoon but he was effectively forced out after upsetting a number of ministers as well as Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis by insisting that senior officials in the conservative government were involved in a «cross-party mafia» at PPC. In his interview with Sunday’s Kathimerini, Paleokrassas accused senior ministry officials of acting as «conductors» in an «orchestra» of corruption. «The score which the orchestra is playing is PPC’s 900-million-euro-investment program and the 1.7 billion of its annual procurements.» On Monday, government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos said Paleokrassas was referring to past cases. But the PPC president insisted on Wednesday that there was still corruption within his firm. Paleokrassas had already rocked the boat at PPC by prompting prosecutors to investigate deals approved by the previous board, including plans to build a 194-million-euro thermoelectric plant at Lavrion, signed under the PASOK government in January 2003. However, this week’s actions proved to be the last straw and Paleokrassas was invited to meet Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas yesterday. Sioufas, with the backing of Karamanlis, told Paleokrassas to send any evidence he had to support his claims to prosecutors by 6 p.m. or tender his resignation. Paleokrassas announced he was resigning shortly after 6 p.m. and said he would confirm this in writing to Karamanlis today.