The latest front-page grabbing political furor in Greece involving the controversial defense minister revolves around reports that Panos Kammenos' recent trip to London included a sortie at an upscale casino's roulette table, among others.
The outspoken Kammenos, the president and founder of a small rightist-populist party that props up the current coalition government as its junior partner, is a favorite "target" of a portion of the country's press.
The reports, and accompanying photographs, were splashed across newspaper front pages and over the Greek-language Internet last week, when the Greek defense minister acknowledged that he used the Greek embassy's limousine, a high-end Jaguar, to go shopping in the UK capital. In Parliament he defended his junket by saying he was merely shopping for Barbie dolls for his daughter.
"Does Mr. Kammenos understand all of what he's doing? We're waiting for his explanations on Monday ... Will Mr. Tsipras (the Greek PM) keep watching his ministers provoke a suffering Greek society for much longer?" main opposition New Democracy (ND) party asked, via a press release.
"Everyone has the right to spend his money as he sees fit; some in casinos, others on books; someone may choose luxury trips, another will chose exotic trips ... for lawmakers, however, two conditions exist: That they're not spending public money or money from unknown wallets," was the curt reaction by the centrist Potami party. The outspoken minister was also criticized for staying in one of London's poshest hotels, where room rates per night are roughly half of the amount in still imposed capital controls in Greece.
Kammenos' critics also pointed out that in his last statement of means and assets - obligatory for Cabinet members and MPs of all parties - he declared a little more than 8,500 euros in bank deposits, something "that in no way justifies the expenses that he appears to be constantly making".