NEWS

Shock waves from charged Paleokrassas

The outgoing head of the Public Power Corporation (PPC) Yiannis Paleokrassas expressed his disappointment yesterday over the lack of support from the prime minister in the «dirty war» waged against him when he was in charge of the state-controlled electricity company. In an emotionally charged and politically damaging letter to Premier Costas Karamanlis, Paleokrassas said he could not understand why he had been forced to resign and criticized the government for not sticking to its policy of fighting corruption. «I am saddened because my hopes along with the hopes of millions of Greeks that the new government would wipe out corruption have been dashed,» said Paleokrassas, who also served as finance minister in the past. The former PPC chief said Karamanlis had appointed him as head of the firm, in which the government has a 51.1 percent stake, promising that the job would be a «challenge.» «I am sorry that this challenge has ended in such a sad way,» Paleokrassas said in his letter to Karamanlis. Paleokrassas announced his resignation on Thursday after upsetting a number of ministers as well as the prime minister by publicly insisting that senior officials in the conservative government were involved in a «cross-party mafia» at PPC. Karamanlis refused to meet with Paleokrassas in person, making the PM’s loss of support clear to the former PPC chief. Paleokrassas was ordered yesterday to present any evidence of corruption to prosecutors by 6 p.m. but labeled the idea a «joke.» As president of PPC, Paleokrassas prompted prosecutors to investigate seven deals approved by the previous board, including plans to build a thermoelectric plant at Lavrion. The European Commission has decided to take Greece to court over this deal. In his letter, Paleokrassas claimed that suspicious deals were costing PPC «tens of millions of euros» and would continue to do so for decades to come under a «system that has cultivated and supports entangled interests.» «For your protection, you have to investigate and find out when it happened, who was involved, by what means and how far it has spread,» Paleokrassas warned Karamanlis. The government said that it would send the letter to the Supreme Court prosecutor and that an investigation into the allegations could follow. Paleokrassas said he would hold a press conference on Monday. There is speculation that he might name some of the people he claims are involved in corrupt practices. The outgoing head of PPC also denied he had damaged the firm’s finances, saying that 200 million euros were gobbled up by higher oil and natural gas prices and the purchase of carbon dioxide emission rights. Constantinos Kyriakopoulos, a general manager at private Alpha Bank for more than 20 years until 2003, was appointed the new president of PPC.