NEWS

Pavlidis family mounts defense

The finances of the Pavlidis family came under further scrutiny yesterday while former Aegean Minister Aristotelis Pavlidis prepared to face MPs as part of their corruption probe. The ex-minister’s brother was the latest witness to appear before deputies to explain how Pavlidis’s daughter came up with the money to buy an apartment in the Athens suburb of Neo Psychico in July 2005. Her uncle, Anstassios Pavlidis, a South Africa-based businessman, told MPs that he had provided the money for the property purchase. During the investigation into whether Pavlidis accepted bribes to award state-subsidized contracts, it had been suggested that some of the money allegedly paid by SAOS ferry company owner Fotis Manousis had been used to buy the 235,000-euro apartment. However, Anastassios Pavlidis insisted that he had given all the money to his niece and attempted to explain why it was transferred in an unusual way. He said that the cash was sent to, and withdrawn from, a branch of the National Bank in Parliament because it was an account that he had used regularly since opening it in 1985. He also explained that the fax ordering the transfer was sent from the island of Kos because he was on vacation there at the time. Pavlidis’s brother said the ex-minister’s daughter, Angeliki, had taken out a loan of 130,000 euros to repay part of the money but her uncle claimed he did not want any money returned and instructed his niece to repay the loan. The former minister is due to appear before the investigative committee today and, barring any last minute changes, is expected to be the final significant witness. The MPs are due to reconvene next Tuesday, when they will begin assessing the information and testimonies they have gathered over the last few days.