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SYRIZA Loses Submarine Deal Probe Bid

PASOK Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos is a hard man to probe
PASOK Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos is a hard man to probe

A proposal by the major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) party for an investigation into a stalled deal for the completion of three Hellenic Navy submarines at Skaramangas Shipyards – including the role of current Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos, the PASOK Socialist leader, was easily beaten back in Parliament.
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ New Democracy party said it would not go along with it, leading to criticism he was trying to protect Venizelos. Parliament earlier this year also rejected investigating him for not checking a list of Greeks with secret Swiss bank accounts for tax cheats when he was finance minister in a previous Socialist government.
SYRIZA wanted a probe into Venizelos’ signing of the deal when he was defense minister in 2010 with Abu Dhabi Mar, which owns 75 percent of the shipyards. The Democratic Left (DIMAR) and Independent MP Andreas Loverdos also voted against the motion, which was rejected by a vote of 167-120, with 13 not voting.
Earlier, SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras blamed Venizelos for a deal which saw the government pay 360 million euros in 2010 only for work on the submarines to stop in 2012 and the employees to have been unpaid since then. “Either you were the victim of a major scam … or you were part of it,” said Tsipras.
Venizelos responded by accusing SYRIZA of serving the interests of companies seeking to benefit from offset agreements in the defense sector. The PASOK leader referred specifically to the role of a retired air force officer, Yiannis Tafyllis, who is a member of SYRIZA’s secretariat. Tsipras told Venizelos to hand over to prosecutors any evidence to back up his allegations.
While the effort garnered attention in Parliament, it was largely ignored in the Greek news and by the public as the government tried to deal with a continuing economic crisis.

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