Message to Greece - throw out both Pasok and New Democracy - get a fresh start with different parties ! Of course , it would help if the other parties seemed inclined to work with rather than against each other .....
MARCH 2012: Siemens pays Greece 170m euros for bribery crimes
APRIL 2012: Siemens wins 41m euro Athens metro project
MINISTER VORIDIS STEERS THE SLEAZY QUID PRO QUO
Former Nazi Makis Voridis….brokered Siemens deal
The Greek people will never, ever have a straight and above-board political system until all the current mob have been thrown out.This is the conclusion many observers have now reached: and allied to that conclusion is the blatant amorality of a Brussels elite that not only has no interest in throwing them out: it would rather deal with corrupt fascists….just so long as they keep saying yes to the madness.
Behind the bland MSM headlines about today’s award of a 41m euro Athens metro contract to Siemens lies the usual complex trail of hands in pockets and easy non-competitive appointments that perpetuates the Greek political elite. There are so many deals in this story, it is at times bewildering. I will therefore stick to enumeration: it’ll make it so much easier for me to get down, and you to follow.
1. There was much wrangling during 2011 between Athens and Siemens about how much compensatiom they should pay for three decades of bribing Greek officials. Evangelo Venizelos was personally involved in the negotiation, and keen to get it settled: he had almost certainly been one of the bribees. But things were getting stuck.
2. November 2011: enter Makis Voridis, new recruit to New Democracy (having ratted on his former fascist colleagues in LAOS) who gets the Transport portfolio…in return for sticking with Papademos on the bailout terms. Voridis is a big wheel in the area surrounding Athens, known as Attica. He’s particularly friendly with the taxi drivers there, who are basically a glorified mafia. So the Transport portfolio offers him all kinds of ‘opportunities’.
3. At the turn of the year, a deal is done. Voridis has a metro contract in the pipeline: if Siemens accept what their lawyers tell them are onerous compensation terms of 170m euros, Voridis will award them the Metro project of 41m euros.
4. Just three weeks later, Makis Voridis is foolish (or brazen) enough to tell the Jan 13 issue of Greek Reporter that ‘ratification of a major contract with the German multinational Siemens for a signalling system along the extensions of the metro would be discussed in Parliament next week, followed by its signature for the completion of the work.’
The tender is supposed to be still open. No other bidders are involved.
5. But by now, his taxi driver friends are upset: subway transport is bad for business. Fear not, the Minister says, I will look after you.
6. This is what I posted at The Slog on March 10th this year:
‘Earlier this week, the German company Siemens agreed to pay 170 million euros compensation and create 700 new jobs in Greece in order to avoid a long-running bribery scandal going to Court. That’s a big price to pay, so the mind boggles at just how smelly the whole process must’ve been. Personally negotiating the compensation was – guess who? – Evangelos Venizelos. The bribery concerned bungs that Siemens gave to Greek politicians and senior civil servants over several decades to secure public contracts…’
But it appears that Voridis’s contribution finally broke the deadlock. Now for the taxi-drivers.
7. On 23rd March – just as Greece becomes legally insolvent completes the bond-swap, Makis Voridis finds himself embroiled in a row with a fellow Papademos Minister, Yiannis Ragousis (PASOK). Himself a former Transportation Minister, Ragousis argues that the proposed Voridis taxi reforms protect the interests of taxi owners in Athens – who had already strongly reacted against more cab licences in the Greek capital. Ragousis, you see, has been tipped off about Makis’s little plan. But the bill passes.
Originally designed to ‘liberalise’ taxi licence ownership, the Voridis Bill effectively blocks any extension of it. Breathtaking hypocrisy….but now everyone’s happy.
8. Yesterday, April 11th 2012, Handelsblatt readers wake up to discover that Siemens will recoup 25% of the fine in 2013 alone…having been awarded the contract to extend the Athens subway.
On the same day, former Greek Defence Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos was arrested in connection with the purchase of German submarines. He is accused of accepting bribes in the Greek purchase of four submarines worth €2.85 billion in 2000. Siemens was also a major supplier at the time. But it gets worse.
Our lad Makis Voridis has a bit of a chequered past. That is, he once followed not so much a chequered flag, as a swastika.
As a student, Voridis was known as ‘Hammer’ on accout of his penchant for using one to beat out the brains of left-wing students opposed to the Greek Colonels regime. Makis was, naturally, an enthusiastic supporter of it.
In 1994 – his time as a Leftie-bashing student over – he helped found the The Hellenic Front. In 2004’s elections, the HF formed a bloc with the neo-Nazi “Front Party” headed by Greece’s most notorious Holocaust denier, Konstantinos Plevis. His rambling volume, “Jews: The Whole Truth,” praised Hitler, and called for the extermination of any Jews sein geliebter Fuhrer might have missed. Plevis was charged and found guilty of “inciting racial hatred” in 2007, but his sentence was overturned on appeal in 2009. He appears to have known all the right people.
By that time, Makis “Hammer” Voridis had furthered his political career, merging the Hellenic Front Party into the far-right LAOS party, an umbrella party for all sorts of neo-Nazi and nutcase political organizations. That’s how he got to be Transport Minister – once Germany decided against the bailout referendum on behalf of the Greek electorate.
Doesn’t this all make you so proud to be part of the European Project? Well hang about, there’s yet more.
70% of the Metro project is being financed by Brussels. With our money. For a country in a depression and facing cuts in every service known to man. From a company once described by a Munich judge as ‘probably the most corrupt company in German history’. Who were chosen by a corrupt former fascist upstart following a sleazy deal involving Troika support and the Athenian taxi mafia.
I’m going to go for a walk now in what’s left of Britain’s green and pleasant land…before Cameron and his developer chums tarmac it over in return for a £3.6m Conservative Party bribe contribution. For company, I’m going to have my 100% ethical wife, and three terriers. I’ll feel better when I get back.
Mark my words: we are on the way to becoming Greece. The whole f**king world is on the way to becoming Greece. But the poor electors of Greece are the ones living under this Greek coalition. A coalition that is nothing more than a turd under the Brussels jackboot.
In that article, I alleged ‘But it is the now even more heavily burdened taxpayers of Greece who are paying the price for this crude rip-off. Most of the perpetrators are doing very nicely thank you. For example, Ferrostaal worked with Yannis Beltsios and paid him €1 million because Greek Defence Minister Akis Tsohatzopolous instructed them to…’
Yesterday [Wednesday] Akis Tsochatzopoulos was arrested by police, and charged with money-laundering in relation to submarine purchases. Yesterday morning, an unmarked police car pulled up outside the luxury home of the former minister – a dwelling his wife bought for cash some years ago for more than 1 million euros…..from an offshore company. The house, which is on the Dionysiou Areopagitou walkway in one of Greece’s most expensive residential areas, has been impounded.
But Tsochatzopoulos immediately labelled his arrest a “pre-election gift” for his former party and New Democracy, designed to make the two main Parties look ‘clean’ as they are lagging behind in the polls. Both PASOK and New Democracy awarded themselves the bulk of a 29m euro paxpayer-funded grant towards election expenses last week. And yesterday, Prime Minister Papademos announced an election date of May 6th. This is a week later than the date he gave to EU officials last month.
“The theory here is that the big Parties want more time to regain ground,” a Brussels source told The Slog last night, “but as to whether this arrest is a conspiracy, I would have no idea”.
This weekend is Easter in Greece. Tsochadzopoulos, 72, will appear before magistrates on Monday. A conviction on such charges carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence. He was one of the top officials in Greece’s majority PASOK party for 25 years, and narrowly lost a vote to become party leader — and prime minister — in the mid-1990s. He also faces further charges of submitting false income declarations.
Police later announced further arrests: Tsochadzopoulos’ cousin and his accountant. His wife and daughter face charges of complicity in money-laundering.
But here’s an interesting twist: Akis Tsochatzopoulos was investigated for alleged bribery last year, but the case was dropped because the statute of limitation shields politicians from most forms of prosecution in Greece. This law was personally authored by….Evangelo Venizelos. However, Venizelos’ Party PASOK expelled him after last year’s bribery investigation. And this meant he could face the same charges as every other Greek citizen…and become a convenient scapegoat?
Samaras raises coalition doubts, points to second round of voting
New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras has raised fresh doubts about the potential for him to form a coalition government with PASOK’s Evangelos Venizelos after the May 6 elections. In an interview with Axia newspaper, Samaras suggests that he would only agree to a unity administration on his terms, saying it would be “blackmail to impose on a party that wins the election to govern with those who have lost.” The conservative leader expressed doubt about whether PASOK would be genuinely interested in sharing power with ND. “What if we start together and then PASOK forces Mr Venizelos to withdraw his support?” said Samaras. “That won’t just create a lack of governance, it will create a prolonged lack of governance and that is exactly what I want to avoid,” he added. Samaras added that he would help beleaguered loanholders by passing a law that would limit their monthly repayments to no more than 30 percent of their income. He also pledged not to impose any one-off taxes to raise revenues to help Greece meet its fiscal targets. His comments came just a few hours after a Public Issue opinion poll for Kathimerini and Skai TV indicated that at this stage PASOK and ND would not gather enough support to form a government on their own. The survey showed New Democracy had slipped to 19 percent and PASOK dropped slightly to 14.5. The two parties are likely to need at least a combined total of 36 percent, rather than the 33.5 percent they got in the Public Issue poll, to have a chance of forming a coalition. The Public Issue poll also indicated that nine parties would secure the minimum support of 3 percent needed to enter Parliament, making for a fragmented political landscape. Such an outcome could increase the likelihood of a second round of elections being needed unless a third party was willing to enter a coalition government. The pro-European Democratic Left could be a candidate but speaking to Skai radio on Thursday its leader, Fotis Kouvelis, said it was highly unlikely the leftists could work with New Democracy and PASOK.
“New Democracy and PASOK choose to defend the policies they have implemented, so based on our political view it is not possible for us to discuss a coalition with these two parties,” said Kouvelis, whose party garnered 12 percent in Wednesday’s survey. “They are both a problem and we do not want to be an alibi for them. We will not take part in such a coalition government.” The three leftist parties - Democratic Left, the Communist Party (KKE) and the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) - garnered a combined total of 36 percent, slightly more than New Demcoracy and PASOK put together. But prospects for cooperation between the three are virtually non-existent. SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras suggested recently that the three leftist groups should work together so they can unite behind one candidate in single-seat constituencies but his offer was rejected. Kouvelis dismissed it as a “public relations trick”.
Leftist chief rejects part in ND-PASOK coalition, hints at second vote
Fotis Kouvelis, the leader of Greece’s rising leftist party Democratic Left, has ruled out the possibility of joining a coalition government with PASOK and New Democracy and has suggested that a second round of elections could be needed after May 6. Speaking to Skai radio on Thursday morning, Kouvelis said that Democratic Left, which was formed in 2010 and has seen its poll rating rise in recent months, would be willing to take part in a coalition government but said that a partnership with ND and PASOK was not possible as long as Greece’s two main parties remained committed to the austerity policies of the past two years. “New Democracy and PASOK choose to defend the policies they have implemented, so based on our political view it is not possible for us to discuss a coalition with these two parties,” said Kouvelis, whose party garnered 12 percent in Wednesday’s survey. “They are both a problem and we do not want to be an alibi for them. We will not take part in such a coalition government.” Kouvelis’s rejection of a three-party unity administration came just a few hours after a Public Issue opinion poll for Kathimerini and Skai TV indicated that at this stage PASOK and ND would not gather enough support to form a government on their own. The survey showed New Democracy had slipped to 19 percent and PASOK dropped slightly to 14.5. The two parties are likely to need at least a combined total of 36 percent, rather than the 33.5 percent they got in the Public Issue poll, to have a chance of forming a coalition. New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras reacted to the announcement on Wednesday that elections would be held on May 6 by repeating his message that he wants voters to give his party a clear majority at the ballot box. PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, meanwhile, has accepted that his beleaguered party cannot hope of forming a government on its own. Instead, he has called on supporters to ensure that the Socialists come first on May 6 so they can call the shots in any coalition.
The Public Issue poll also indicated that nine parties would secure the minimum support of 3 percent needed to enter Parliament, making for a fragmented political landscape. Such an outcome could increase the likelihood of a second round of elections being needed. Kouvelis said that such a scenario could not be ruled out. “If the May 6 elections do not produce a clear outcome the it is possible that we will have to go to a new round,” said the Democratic Left chief. The three leftist parties - Democratic Left, the Communist Party (KKE) and the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) - garnered a combined total of 36 percent, slightly more than New Demcoracy and PASOK put together. But prospects for cooperation between the three are virtually non-existent. SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras suggested recently that the three leftist groups should work together so they can unite behind one candidate in single-seat constituencies but his offer was rejected. Speaking to Skai radio, Kouvelis dismissed it as a “public relations trick”.