NEWS

Pavlidis’s accounts under the microscope

The parliamentary committee investigating former Aegean Minister Aristotelis Pavlidis in connection with the alleged blackmail of a shipowner reconvened yesterday and asked Bank of Greece (BoG) experts to check a number of money transfers relating to accounts kept in the name of the Dodecanese MP and other witnesses in the case. The paperwork relating to the money transfers was delivered to the committee late on Tuesday and the BoG analysts said it will take them until Sunday to examine the data. This means that the 13 MPs on the committee will have only a few hours to reach their decision as to whether Pavlidis should face further action, since their report is due to be submitted to Parliament on Monday. PASOK has asked for the financial data to be made available as soon as possible. The Socialist party, which is in favor of Pavlidis’s immunity being lifted, also asked yesterday for the charges against the ex-minister to be widened to include passive bribery and breach of duty. The committee will rule on this request on Monday. PASOK believes that Pavlidis was the moral instigator of a process in which the former minister and a close aide blackmailed Fotis Manousis, the owner of the SAOS ferry firm, into paying them bribes in return for a lucrative state-subsidized contract. Pavlidis denies the claim but during the inquiry his daughter’s cash purchase of a 235,000-euro apartment in 2005 came under scrutiny. The details of the bank accounts being studied by the BoG experts could shed light on the MP’s claims that his brother supplied the money for the transaction. New Democracy sources indicated that the committee is likely to advise Parliament that there is not enough evidence to proceed with a move to lift Pavlidis’s immunity. The House is due to vote on Tuesday on whether to take further action against the former minister.