NEWS

Liapis answers accusers

Culture Minister Michalis Liapis yesterday made public receipts that he insists prove he did not enjoy free hospitality at the expense of Siemens when he followed the Greek national soccer team to Germany three years ago. Liapis said on Wednesday that he would take legal action following reports that he and his son were guests of former Siemens managing director Michalis Christoforakos when Greece played a series of friendly games in the summer of 2005. However, it later emerged that the trip had been arranged by Siemens Hellas, which is currently under investigation due to suspicions that it paid bribes to politicians to secure state contracts. In a bid to quash speculation, Liapis made public receipts from three hotels in Germany, dating from June 16 to 20 in 2005. He also produced a receipt from a travel agency for 1,033 euros for two tickets on an Olympic Airlines flight from Athens to Berlin, with a return from Frankfurt to Athens. Liapis maintains that he hired a car to get around Germany during his stay but did not present any documents yesterday confirming this. The government said that it was satisfied by Liapis’s explanations about his not being included in a package deal organized by Siemens. «I have spoken to the minister, who told me that he organized and paid for his and his son’s trip. With regard to other matters, if they indeed took place, he had no knowledge of them,» said government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos. PASOK continued to demand that Liapis resign. «The government has been exposed by covering for him, so has the prime minister who keeps him in his government. He should have already demanded his resignation,» said PASOK spokesman Giorgos Papaconstantinou. PASOK leader George Papandreou is expected to go on the attack over the issue after claiming that corrupt judges are helping the government cover up the bribery scandal.