Former Greek prime minister Costas Simitis on Wednesday said he'll respond to what he charged is slander against him after he ascertains who is behind it, hours after an Athens daily reported that a judicial watchdog to combat money laundering has ordered his bank accounts opened.
The Athens daily "Nea" on Wednesday morning said an anti-money laundering authority in the country had notified five Greek banks to open accounts belonging to Simitis, the Greek premier between 1996 and 2004, his wife, Daphne, his brother, Spiros, an academic based in Germany for decades, as well as two former public order ministers in Simitis' cabinets.
"This foretold persecution against me does not concern me. History is not written by the temporary occupants of the executive branch. It is obvious that an investigation into my (bank) ccounts is welcome. I have nothing to hide. The relevant reports focus on slander; and I'll respond to this slander when I ascertain who is behind it," was the written statement released by Simitis' office, complete with an insinuation against the current leftist-rightist coalition government.
In his reaction, former PASOK minister Michalis Chrysohoidis, a particularly prominent public order minister in the early 2000s during preparations for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and eradication of the "17N" terror gang, confirmed that his bank accounts have been opened for further investigation, "let them open whatever they want," he added.
Speaking on the Athens television Skai on Wednesday morning, Chrysohoidis underlined that "they (judicial authorities) have for a some time now tried to implicate Costas Simitis, and they are now involving his wife and brother in (more than decade-old) testimony by a former Thales executive, which was interested (the French company) in the C4I (a law enforcement-related contract for the Athens Olympic Games); who was found guilty in France because he (the former executive) could not prove what he was alleging."
Chrysohoidis was referring to allegations made 13 years ago by Michel Josserand, the former chief executive of Thec, an engineering subsidiary of the French electronics multinational. The latter claimed the existence of "slush fund" by the company to bribe politicians and officials in foreign countries in order to win contracts.
Τhe Command, Control, Communications, Computers, and Intelligence (C4I) contract was ultimately awarded, via an international tender, to California-based SAIC. The system, however, was never completely operational for Athens 2004 Games and the subsequent period.