NEWS

Vatopedi’s wealth revealed by monk

Vatopedi Monastery, which is being investigated over its involvement in an alleged corrupt property exchange with the state, has a range of investments that total more than 100 million euros, according to Evdokimos, the monk in charge of the monastery’s finances. Unlike chief monk Ephraim and his assistant Arsenios, who refused to answer MPs questions earlier in the week, Evdokimos submitted himself to a grilling from the deputies on the committee that is investigating whether taxpayers were shortchanged in the land swap. Evdokimos revealed that Vatopedi has extensive business dealings with Cypriot businessman Athos Koiranidis, who owns Rassadel, the company that bought a property in Athens’s Olympic Village, which the monastery was given in the exchange. The monk said that Vatopedi had transferred some 30 million euros to another of Koiranidis’s companies, Mateus, so the Cypriot could invest it on behalf of the monastery. Evdokimos went on to reveal that Vatopedi has an investment portfolio that is worth a total of some 90 million euros. At some point during his examination, the monk began to feel unwell and was taken to Parliament’s medical room for a checkup. He returned a little later to tell the MPs that the monastery had made at least a 15-million-euro profit on the properties that it got from the state, in exchange for land around Lake Vistonida in northern Greece, and subsequently sold or rented out. Several plots of land plus the building in the Olympic Village fetched more than 60 million euros when they were sold. Several high-profile members of the government, including former ministers Theodoros Roussopoulos, Giorgos Voulgarakis, Savvas Tsitouridis and Vassilis Magginas, are due to face questioning next week.