Some 460 police officers assigned to guard politicians, journalists, and business executives have been taken away and returned to normal duty, but former deputy prime minister Theodoros Pangalos, a PASOK Socialist stalwart who has retired and no longer in public service, is being allowed to keep four as bodyguards and escorts and the government will keep paying the cost of his travel into Athens, Public Order Minister Nikos Dendias has admitted.
Dendias told Parliament of the reassignments but offered no explanation why Pangalos continues to receive benefits when he’s not working for the government anymore and isn’t a former Prime Minister. During his time in office, the outspoken Pangalos ired many Greeks with his comment that, “We all ate it together,” blaming them as well as the government for an orgy of overspending that bankrupted the country.
He also was notorious for running up cell phone bills of thousands of euros a month at a time when the government was imposing harsh austerity measures on workers, pensioners and the poor.
Dendias said that the force was in the process of examining whether more officers could be relieved of having to guard politicians, businessmen, journalists and other potential targets for criminals and terrorists, with some newly-sprung groups warning they have targeted them. There has been a spate of incidents of bomb attempts.