Financial crimes squad probing millionaire MP

The financial crimes squad (SDOE) has launched an investigation into an MP’s alleged transfer of 1 million euros out of the country last year, raising questions about where he or she got the money from and why it was sent abroad at a time when the government was encouraging Greeks to keep their savings in local banks. SDOE’s special secretary, Yiannis Diotis, ordered the probe on Thursday to discover whether the MP could justify having this money based on his or her declared wealth. The process was triggered by the head of Greece’s anti-money laundering agency, Panayiotis Nikoloudis, revealing to a parliamentary committee earlier this week that the unnamed lawmaker had made the financial transaction last year. This prompted a number of MPs to demand that their colleague step forward or be named by parliamentary officials. Evangelos Argyris, the deputy that heads Parliament’s committee for issues relating to lawmakers’ source of wealth (“pothen esches”) declarations, said that there were legal obstacles to naming the MP. “We must not get involved in guessing games,” he told journalists. “For any name to be made public, a parliamentary committee would have to investigate the matter and issue a verdict.” The Communist Party (KKE) suggested that others were making a sacrificial lamb of the MP in question to cover up for their own wrongdoings and the “billions that have been looted from the people.” Meanwhile, MPs have voted to hold an investigation into Greece’s economic statistics for 2009 in the wake of allegations about the deficit figure being artificially inflated. The committee will have to conclude its probe by March 23.

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