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Athens News Agency: News in English, 09-06-05

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM's interview to Athens television station
  • [02] 'Italia in Piazza 2009' in Athens
  • [03] Siemens fugitive's assets frozen
  • [04] Stocks end 1.43% up

  • [01] PM's interview to Athens television station

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Friday reiterated that he will "of course, be present in the coming (national) elections," appearing in a televised interview aired by a local Athens television station.

    Speaking less than 48 hours before European Parliament elections are held in the east Mediterranean country, Karamanlis said a positive result for his ruling New Democracy party will be none other than a "win".

    "...regardless, whatever the result, we'll see it, weigh it and judge it ... however, Euro-elections do not choose the government or the prime minister," he added, speaking on the television station "Star".

    In reference to a question regarding main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou's demand for early elections, Karamanlis said: "let him sit down and come up with a proper proposal and position, so that we may achieve a synthesis of views to deal with the issues faced by the country," he added.

    [02] 'Italia in Piazza 2009' in Athens

    The "Italia in Piazza 2009" event continued at Athens' Technopolis venue this week, with the country's regions showcased, along with scientific seminars in tandem with technology and art exhibitions.

    The regions of Puglia, Molise and Lazio will be on display as of Friday, with region of Campania already showcased at the event.

    A research conference on Friday, focusing on seismology and buildings' heightened quake protection, will be co-organised by the Italian embassy in Athens, the Italian Institute for Foreign Trade (ICE), Greece's Anti-Seismic Planning and Protection Organisation (OASP) as well as the Italy-based Pnykart Foundation.

    Several commercial exhibitions, including the presentation of new Italian-made cars, as well as concerts were held during the event.

    [03] Siemens fugitive's assets frozen

    Greece's independent authority against money-laundering on Friday ordered the sequestration of all assets and accounts belonging to fugitive from justice Christos Karavelas, one of the key suspects in an ongoing investigation involving the giant German multinational Siemens and its Greek subsidiary.

    Karavelas fled the country last week just before a hearing when he was due to appear as a suspect facing charges of bribery and money-laundering, all linked to a massive 1997 contract between Siemens Hellas and the then state-controlled telecom Hellenic Telecommunications Organisation (OTE).

    Acting in consultation with a special examining magistrate in charge of the case, Nikos Zagorianos, the Authority has forbidden the sale or transfer of properties owned by Karavelas in the plush north Athens suburb of Ekali, as well as real estate on the distinctly upscale islands of Mykonos, Santorini, Paros and Antiparos and the well-known mountain resort of Arachova. Notification of the authority's decision will be sent to title deed repositories throughout the country.

    The authority has, additionally, issued sequestration orders for 200,000 euros found in a bank account belonging to Karavelas in Athens and any valuables kept by the family in safety deposit boxes.

    Similar measures will be taken during the coming week for the assets of the other seven defendants in the case, even if they have transferred their property and assets to their relatives.

    In the meantime, Karavelas' lawyer, Yiannis Markoulakos, denied rumours that his client was currently negotiating with Greek authorities for his surrender.

    The lawyer had earlier met Zagorianos and received assurances that the magistrate would take no further action in relation to detained members of Karavelas' family, until there was a decision on their requests for a substantial reduction of the two-million-euros bail set for their release.

    The magistrate had ordered the arrest of Karavelas' daughters and wife earlier this week for complicity in money-laundering, on the grounds that their father had transferred substantial sums from a bank account in Switzerland into joint accounts held with his daughters. Regarding Karavelas' 17-year-old son, the lawyer said that any action against him was unlikely, though he might be summoned as a witness in the case.

    Late on Thursday, Zagorianos had ordered the blocking of joint bank accounts held by the former Siemens Hellas executive with his three daughters and son.

    Meanwhile, Appeals Court prosecuting authorities have filed for the reversal of a Misdemeanour Court justices' council ruling, which calls for the release of all documents in the case file to the defendants.

    Still pending is a decision by the Misdemeanour Court Justices Council on a request filed by the lawyers of Siemens case suspects Ilias Georgiou and Georgios Skarpelis, asking that the magistrate Zagorianos be recused.

    The flight abroad of the two main suspects in the case, Karavelas and former Siemens executive Mihalis Christoforakos, has also sparked a political storm, with PASOK demanding the resignation of ministers for allowing them to leave the country and ruling New Democracy pointing out that the questionable contracts had been signed when PASOK was in power.

    Another five people in addition to Karavelas and Christoforakos have been charged as suspects in the case. Four of them have been detained pending trial, including former senior Siemens Greece executives Prodromos Mavridis, Manolis Stavrianos, Ilias Georgiou and a former OTE board member Georgios Skarpelis. Also a suspect is a one-time head of Siemens AG's Communications unit Volker Jung, who served as head of the Greek subsidiary's supervisory board at the time. Jung was released on his own recognizance after appearing before the magistrate on Thursday.

    The case was first uncovered in the course of an international investigation into Siemens slush funds and bribes given by the multinational to secure state contracts, during which witnesses claimed that both the main political parties in Greece been given large sums. The Greek investigation concerns a 1997 contract to digitalise OTE phone centres.

    [04] Stocks end 1.43% up

    Greek stocks ended higher at the Athens Stock Exchange on Friday, following a similar trend prevailing in other European markets. The composite index rose 1.43 pct to end at 2,372.26 points, with turnover a moderate 198.1 million euros, of which 8.9 million euros were block trades.

    Most sectors moved upwards, with the Raw Materials (9.57 pct), Personal/Home Products (6.52 pct) and Health (4.74 pct) scoring the biggest percentage gains of the day, while Media (2.96 pct), Oils (2.69 pct) and Food/Beverage (1.34 pct) suffered losses.

    The FTSE 20 index rose 1.21 pct, the FTSE 40 index ended 3.80 pct higher and the FTSE 80 index rose 0.71 pct. Broadly, advancers led decliners by 133 to 92 with another 49 issues unchanged.


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