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Supreme Court Wants Bakoyianni Immunity Lifted for Probe

Democratic Alliance leader Dora Bakoyianni is under scrutiny over her wealth declaration

ATHENS – Greece’s Supreme Court said it will ask a new Parliament to be formed after May 6 elections to lift the immunity of Democratic Alliance leader Dora Bakoyanni so she can be investigated in connection with the alleged non-declaration of $1.3 million, a revelation that set off a frenzy about which Member of Parliament was involved. A furious Bakoyiannis later denied any wrongdoing and said the money was that of her husband, Isidoros Kouvelos. She said he made it in the US stock market and then used it to buy a ship in the United Kingdom, but had not put in for a declaration of wealth his wife submitted to the Parliament.
The discovery earlier this year came as Greek officials said many of the country’s rich elite had spirited money away in bank accounts outside the country, which is not unlawful unless it is not declared. After the news came out, Bakoyanni wrote to Supreme Court prosecutor Yiannis Tentes over what she described as a “barbaric abuse of the truth.” The former minister accused Panayiotis Nikoloudis, the head of the country’s anti-money-laundering agency, of being “unfit” for such a “delicate position,” and demanded that a probe be launched into how and why his investigation into MPs’ assets led to Kouvelos.
At that time, then Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos – now head of the PASOK Socialists and its candidate for Prime Minister – told Parliament that a significant number of lawmakers had moved sums in excess of $130,000 out of the country. He said that he had acquired information relating to bank transfers from last year. “The list includes politicians, and relatives of politicians,” Venizelos said. He noted however that the list of names would not be made public as the individuals will be summoned to provide explanations. “Some of the cases might involve health problems or relatives making legal and normal commercial exchanges,” he said.
He also told fellow ministers that there are several public figures among the Greeks who transferred a total of $21.1 billion abroad over the last two years. According to research conducted by the Finance Ministry’s information systems department, 9 percent of this money ended up in Swiss bank accounts. No names have ever been revealed and Venizelos left his position before working out an agreement with Swiss officials to identify anyone.

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