No political link to bond deal

The head of a committee formed to combat money laundering, Giorgos Zorbas, told Parliament yesterday that he does not believe that a recent bond scandal involving the country’s pension funds can be blamed on political figures. Addressing a parliamentary committee, Zorbas said that if he suspected foul play by politicians during his investigation into the scandal he would have notified Parliament and not a prosecutor. Zorbas put together a report on a 280-million-euro government bond that had been passed on to four pension funds at over-the-top prices. His report, which has yet to be made public, suggests that Finance Ministry officials knew the government paper would be sold on to four pension funds, according to sources. Leaked extracts also indicated that some intermediaries had made excessive profits and some money ended up with a political party, which was not identified. However, Zorbas refused to confirm this, saying that any comment would harm preparations being conducted for the trial. Judicial officials have completed their own investigation into the scandal in June and filed charges against 50 officials of state pension funds, banks and brokerages. None of the names have been made public. Opposition parties accused the ruling conservatives of calling snap elections in September to force the cancellation of a previously planned appearance in Parliament that month by Zorbas in case his testimony stirred further controversy.