Parliament committee wraps up inquiry into political party, media loans

A Parliamentary investigating committee looking into the legality of bank loans to political parties and the media officially concluded its nine-month inquiry on Monday, with the delivery of its final report and conclusions to Parliament President Nikos Voutsis.

Each of the parties represented on the committee reached volubly different conclusions concerning the extent of corruption involved, setting the tone for the debate on its findings that is to take place in the plenum on February 1.

The final report delivered to Voutsis by the commitee chairman Antonis Balomenakis runs to 965 pages, while there was strong disagreement between the ruling coalition and the opposition parties regarding its conclusions during the committee’s last session. The opposition parties finally insisted on appending their own conclusions and positions separately, attached to the final report.

During the vote on the set of conclusions supported by the ruling majority, votes in favour were cast by 12 MPs from SYRIZA and ANEL, while there were eight votes against, cast by main opposition New Democracy, Democratic Alliance, Communist Party of Greece (KKE) and Golden Dawn. Two MPs representing the Potami party and Union of Centrists abstained, voting ‘present’. All the parties with the exception of ND also supported the majority’s proposal that the final report, as it stood, should be sent to the Supreme Court prosecutor so that justice can investigate any criminal liability that may exist.

Commenting on the final report, government sources noted that SYRIZA’s standing political pledge to investigate the “triangle of corruption,” made two years earlier in January 2015, was now a reality. “Just nine months were needed, and the depositions-confessions of the protagonists themselves, to refute the lies of decades and shed light on the underground dealings of ND and PASOK with the media and banks,” they said. The inquiry had proved to all Greece that the “main pillar for the production of policy for decades was corruption itself, with banks transformed into a piggy bank to serve their mutual interests.”

According to ND, however, the committee’s findings were “yet another resounding defeat for the government” and had culminated in “SYRIZA’s conclusion, according to which there was no evidence of criminal liability for political figures, since there was no indication of their involvement in the lending to political parties and media enterprises.”

ND submitted its own 110-page conclusions outlining 38 specific findings.