GREECE - Labour Minister Savvas Tsitouridis was asked to tender his resignation on Saturday and become the latest casualty in the Greek pension fund bond scandal.
Prime Minister Karamanlis took the decision after it was revealed that one of the minister’s close aides, Evgenios Papadopoulos, was being investigated over improper transactions on the Athens stock exchange in 1999-2001.
The PM said: “My decision is not to tolerate any kind of action or behaviour that harms political life, that hurts Greeks.”
Karamanlis demanded Tsitouridis resign following prosecutors' requests for Papadopoulos’ bank accounts to be made accessible during the inquiry.
Opposition politicians demanded the government do more in response to the revelations.
Karamanlis countered: "When I undertook the responsibility for the governing of country, I wanted all the Greek citizens they know that the Prime Minister and the Government they selected will respect, giving the same sensitivity toward all the subjects, big and small."
In an effort to rebuild relations with Greece, JP Morgan offered to buy back the bond for €280m ($381m) which was overpriced by €5m by brokers and sold on to Greek public pension funds.
The affair had already seen the resignation of the head of the Civil Servants Auxiliary Pension Fund (TEADY) board. PM Karamanlis also stated that all new appointments to pension fund boards should be approved by the Bank of Greece and Capital Market Commission.
Akropolis, the trader accused of the overpricing the bond, has had its license temporarily revoked and investigations are underway into a cash withdrawal of €2.4m from company coffers by its president.
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