NEWS

Vatopedi reports due on Monday

The five parties represented in Parliament and on the committee investigating the Vatopedi property scandal are due to submit their reports about the probe to the speaker of the House, Dimitris Sioufas, on Monday, it emerged yesterday. New Democracy, PASOK, the Communist Party, the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) and the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) were all represented on the committee handling the parliamentary inquiry, which began almost a month and a half ago and was given the task of trying to find out whether any politicians should be charged in connection with the transfer of some prime real estate from the state to the Vatopedi Monastery in return for less valuable land. The parties had the option of producing a single report based on the statements that the parliamentary committee gathered from dozens of witnesses but have instead opted for separate reports. PASOK is expected to state that there is substantial evidence that members of the government committed crimes in setting up the deal. The Socialist opposition is likely to point to several ministers and former members of the government as having tried to make sure the exchange favored the Mount Athos monastery. SYRIZA and the Communist Party are likely to follow suit. It is not clear if PASOK will also claim that there is proof of former government spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos being involved. Roussopoulos resigned in October after taking a battering from the media and opposition politicians over his alleged role in the deal. New Democracy appears set on performing a damage limitation exercise with its report. Sources said that the conservatives are going to try to focus on the role of civil servants, including evaluators and legal experts, who ushered the deal through and helped set up the contracts. The feeling is that ND will try and pin the blame on the civil servants. Sources said that some conservative deputies want to ensure that public officials who have done something wrong are singled out, as pressure builds for someone to be held accountable for the deal, which allegedly cost taxpayers 100 million euros. Meanwhile, the state evaluators issued a statement yesterday denying that they had done anything wrong when assessing the value of the properties that were swapped.