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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-06-04

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Alexandria Patriarch praises Obama speech in Egypt
  • [02] Ex-Siemens exec testifies
  • [03] Gov't on illegal migration via Turkey
  • [04] Stocks end 2.90% down

  • [01] Alexandria Patriarch praises Obama speech in Egypt

    CAIRO (ANA-MPA - N. Katsikas) Alexandria and All Africa Patriarch Theodoros II on Thursday praised the message of reconciliation sent to Muslims and Arabs by U.S. President Barack Obama during his speech at Cairo University earlier that day, stressing that the Alexandria Patriarchate supported every initiative promoting the harmonious coexistence of Christians and Muslims.

    Patriarch Theodoros had attended the speech given by Obama at the invitation of the Egyptian presidency, briefly interrupting a tour that he had begun last week in Nairobi, Kenya for the purpose.

    On the sidelines of the event, he exchanged a cordial handshake with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

    [02] Ex-Siemens exec testifies

    A one-time senior executive at Siemens was released on his own recognizance after appearing before a special examining magistrate in Athens on Thursday as a suspect in an ongoing bribery and money-laundering investigation involving Greek state contracts awarded to the German multinational.

    After a six-hour hearing conducted with the aid of an interpreter, he was released on condition that he not leave the country and report to a police station at regular intervals until the case comes to trial.

    Like others charged in connection with the case, Volker Jung is accused of bribery and legalising income from illegal activities in connection with a contract awarded to Siemens in 1997 by state-run telecom Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE).

    At one time Jung headed of the German multinational's communications unit and was also head of the supervisory board at Siemens' Greek subsidiary, Siemens Hellas.

    In another development linked to the same explosive case, the lawyers hired to defend the family of Christos Karavelas, a fugitive from Greek justice whose wife and two daughters were arrested by authorities earlier this week, announced that they were resigning because they disagreed with the defence tactics adopted by the family.

    The defence of Karavelas' daughters has now been taken on by the lawyer Sakis Kehagioglou.

    Kehagioglou paid a visit to special examining magistrate Nikos Zagorianos, who is in charge of the case, on Thursday to inform him that he was taking over the defence of the three Karavelas daughters facing complicity in money-laundering charges. The charges against them are based on the fact that their father transferred large sums of money into joint accounts held with his daughters' names from his own account in Switzerland.

    The Athens attorney later lodged an appeal against their detention in custody and for a substantial reduction of a one-million-euro bail imposed on each of Karavelas' two adult daughters. All the women deny any involvement in the activities of their father.

    Gov't on Siemens developments

    Commenting on his use of the term "remand prisoner" for another defendant in the case, Georgios Skarpelis, the previous day, government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros on Thursday noted that the term might not have been absolutely precise, but that this did not alter the essence of what he had said.

    "The person I was referring to was, in fact, being held by prosecuting authorities and the point lies elsewhere. I was referring to persons who were known from a certain period and the role that they played in specific positions," he pointed out, repeating that the Siemens affair was a scandal linked to main opposition PASOK governments and their questionable decisions.

    Regarding the flight from justice of Siemens suspect Christos Karavelas, the spokesman noted that any responsibility by the current administration would be discovered and dealt with.

    Questioned about the testimony of former Siemens AG manager Reinhard Siekaczek, who said that both large political parties in Greece received kickbacks from the company's slush funds, Antonaros stressed that New Democracy did not need to do much, since former top PASOK cadre and MP Theodoros Tsoukatos has already admitted to receiving one million marks from Siemens as a campaign contribution that he passed on to PASOK coffers.

    "The rest are simply assertions," he added, noting that there was no record of even a single D-mark being contributed to ND.

    Caption: Former Siemens executive Volker Jung exits the Athens first instance courthouse complex in this photo, dated Wednesday, May 27, 2009. ANA-MPA / A. BELTES.

    [03] Gov't on illegal migration via Turkey

    LUXEMBOURG (ANA-MPA / V. Demiris) -- Greece emphasised to its EU partners here on Thursday that neighbouring Turkey, an EU candidate-state, must absolutely respect the agreements it has signed on the readmission of illegal migrants that entered Greece from its territory -- a pressing issue amid an increasing flow of mostly Third World nationals attempting to reach the Union via Turkey.

    Interior and Public Administration Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who represented Greece at the EU Justice and Internal Affairs Council, reiterated that if Turkey wished to enter the Union as a member it must adhere to Europe's acquis communautaire, of which an immigration and asylum pact entered into effect last October.

    Pavlopoulos echoed Greek leadership in reminding that the neighbouring country, with which Greece's shares an extensive maritime border in the eastern Aegean and an often porous land border in the northeast Thrace province, has not met its commitments to take back migrants entering Greece from its territory.

    "We are open to the steps Turkey is taking towards Europe, but this also necessitates simultaneous steps towards its (Turkey) modernisation, particularly with respect to the acquis communautaire," Pavlopoulos told his EU counterparts, reiterating that a landmark November 2001 Greek-Turkish protocol has not been honored by Ankara.

    The Greek minister said the Union's proposals are generally moving in the right direction, although they will have to meeting all of the EU's needs, especially given the eastern Mediterranean particularities.

    To prove his point, Pavlopoulos said Greece requested the readmission of 65,947 illegal immigrants back into Turkey, with only 2,271 returned over a span of seven years.

    Finally, the Greek interior minister, who holds the law enforcement portfolio, said Athens wants the EU to sign and implement other such readmission protocols with other third countries where large numbers of illegal immigrants originate, such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nigeria, Afghanistan and Somalia.

    [04] Stocks end 2.90% down

    Greek stocks ended significantly lower in the Athens Stock Exchange on Thursday, hit by a wave of profit taking. The composite index dropped 2.90 pct to end at 2,338.90 points, with turnover at 268.3 million euros of which 13.6 million euros were block trades.

    All sectors moved lower with the Technology (5.13 pct), Health (5.01 pct), Insurance (4.86 pct), Raw Materials (4.21 pct) and Banks (4.20 pct) suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day.

    The FTSE 20 index dropped 3.31 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 2.86 pct down and the FTSE 80 index fell 2.28 pct. Broadly, decliners led advancers by 176 to 62 with another 30 issues unchanged.

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