NEWS

ND against new Vatopedi inquiry

New Democracy said yesterday that it is not in favor of holding a fresh parliamentary inquiry into the allegedly corrupt exchange of property between the state and the Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos but added that it would back the government’s plans to investigate several other graft scandals. The conservatives said they would not support a fresh probe into claims that the land swap was heavily weighted by state officials and members of the previous ND government in favor of the monastery and at the expense of Greek taxpayers because parliament has already investigated the matter. At the start of this year, a parliamentary committee failed to bring corruption charges against any official or politician. However, the inquiry was riddled by infighting between the parties. ND spokesman Panos Panagiotopoulos said that all the parties took part in the parliamentary inquiry into Vatopedi and there is therefore no question about whether the affair should be probed again. «New Democracy wants the truth to come out but we also want to halt any plans that the prime minister has to use the entire process of parliamentary inquiries to draw attention away from the obvious inability of his government to produce any effective work,» said Panagiotopoulos. The spokesman added that if PASOK had any new evidence to submit in connection with the case, then the opposition would actively support any efforts to uncover the truth. «It is puzzling that ND is rushing to prevent its MPs from deciding for themselves by rejecting the formation of an investigative committee for Vatopedi,» said government spokesman Giorgos Petalotis. «Either ND has yet to comprehend what transparency means or it has something to hide.» The conservatives said they would support PASOK’s efforts to investigate the possible involvement of politicians or state officials in the manipulation of share prices between 1999 and 2008, whether any public servants or party representatives accepted bribes from Siemens Hellas, the purchase of structured government bonds by pension funds at allegedly inflated prices and Cosmote’s highly costly purchase of the Germanos electrical retail chain.