Ex-ministers hit out at inquiry

A number of former ministers who are going to have their personal finances examined as part of the parliamentary inquiry into the Siemens cash-for-contracts scandal objected yesterday to being placed under such public scrutiny. The parliamentary committee investigating claims that Siemens paid bribes to public officials and politicians to secure state contracts named 1 0 former ministers, five from PASOK and five from New Democracy, who would have their details checked. Four of those on the list objected to the panel’s tactics, claiming they were being unfairly targeted or were the subject of an attack prompted by political differences. «Some names are included and some others are not, apparently based on their current political roles,» said former Transport Minister Christos Verelis. «Those who handled party finances have not been included on the list.» Former ND Public Order Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis described the list as «selective.» He said that his finances have been probed in the past and that he has nothing to hide, although he did add that it was of interest to note who was not on the list rather than who was on it. Giorgos Alogoskoufis, economy and finance minister in the previous ND administration, said that he is happy to let the committee inspect his financial records but stressed that he never played any part in agreeing on contracts with Siemens. Former Socialist Economy and Finance Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said that his finances would stand up to scrutiny but described the committee’s move as «unacceptable.» «It is clear that the selection of certain people and the conscious omission of others serves interests other than discovering the truth and dispensing justice,» he said.