OPINION

Big fish get away

Miltiades Evert, the outspoken former conservative leader, aims to shed light on the biggest scandal of the previous, Simitis government: the Athens stockmarket bubble which saw the Socialists’ business cronies siphon off the savings of 1.5 million people. Despite its pre-election promise to probe the stockmarket scandal, the current New Democracy government has failed to deliver. Instead, it focused on the murky case of arms procurements – where tracking down the wrongdoers proved even trickier. In a nod to the conservative party base, Evert put heat on the Public Portfolio Management Company (DEKA) which he accused of manipulating the Athens bourse during the 2000 pre-election period. Evert presented evidence of the company’s decision to spend millions of euros to keep the bourse index above the 5,000-point level. PASOK had clearly tried to escape the wrath of investors who bought bubble shares when the market was above the 6,000-point benchmark and to keep it above 5,000 points to give the false hope of a rebound and avoid an election debacle. And it worked. Former National Economy Minister Yiannos Papantoniou said that the «stock market crisis has an expiry date and that is the election date.» It was with such tricks and lies that PASOK won a tissue-thin victory in the 2000 elections. It’s time somebody paid the piper for the DEKA scandal, which is only a fragment of the monstrous campaign to squander people’s savings. In fact, the big fish, those who planned and carried out this massive fraud, will get away. I will personally feel sorry if DEKA governor Ioannis Kousoulakos finally takes all the blame. He only played a minor role while those who piled trillions of drachmas in their Swiss bank accounts will escape unscathed. In Greece, the big fish never get caught in the net.