Vatopaidi scandal inquiry underway
The socialist government got its first committee of inquiry today, after parliament unanimously approved a proposal put forward by Pasok MPs. The Vatopaidi land exchange scandal rocked the conervative government in September 2008, after Supreme Court Prosecutor Yiorgos Sanidas launched a probe into an exchange of land between the state and Vatopaidi Monastery on Mount Athos. Vatopaidi was to receive valuable parcels in Halkidiki and Attica in return for 2,500 disputed hectares surrounding Lake Vistonida in east Macedonia. The exchange favoured vatopaidi by tens of millions of euros. The cross-party committee is to conclude on March 15.
University oil scandal
A former rector of the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki was released without bail while facing charges of embezzling heating oil during his tenure. About 200,000 litres of oil were noticed missing after the university converted to natural gas in 2004. The oil shipments under suspicion started in 1999 and could be as many as ten million litres' worth, amounting to more than seven million euros, according to Eleftherotypia. Rector Yannis Antonopoulos insisted he was innocent. (in Greek).
Karamanlis letter to Siemens casts a pall
Former prime minister Kostas Karamanlis wrote to thank the then head of Siemens Hellas for his support in New Democracy's election campaign, Eleftherotypia has revealed. The letter is dated 24 May 2004, about ten weeks after the conservatives came to power. "I would like to thank you personally for your support in our effort for a new beginning," the letter reads, "and to assure you that one of the new government's major priorities will be to make the expectations of Greeks for a better tomorrow reality." The Siemens strongman, Mihalis Christoforakos, has testified to German authorities that his company bribed both New Democracy and Pasok during his tenure.
Jeffrey Sachs describes how a relief plan for Haiti should work
Economist Jeffrey Sachs tells the Economist that the US should donate a billion dollars to Haiti, but channel the aid through a multi-donor trust fund placed with the Inter-American Development Bank. He believes that the US has not provided leadersip on development of poorer countries in the last quarter century.