REGULARS would know that our disreputable establishment had repeatedly been asking why the commies of AKEL were so supportive of a crooked banker like Andreas Vgenopoulos, despite knowing, long before the bailout, that he had bankrupted Laiki.
The answer, now officially confirmed by the Attorney-General’s investigation into Focus Maritime Corporation’s funding of the political parties, is 1.5 million euro. It is the kind of money that would turn pure and idealistic commies into zealous cheerleaders of the most ruthless, capitalist wheeler-dealer.
Investigators had followed the money trail and found that one million went to the election campaign of comrade Tof in September 2007 via a Ukrainian company, based in the Virgin Islands, but using the services of a Limassol auditing firm. Another €450,000 was paid in two instalments, in June 2008, to a Nicosia auditing firm that has very close links to AKEL and claimed that the money was paid for services offered to Focus.
Focus belongs to Michalis Zolotas, a close associate of Vgenopoulos with no business interests in Cyprus and no incentive to have our incorruptible politicians in his pocket, in contrast to the generous banker. DISY was given only €450,000 by Focus, in January 2008, the money being used to pay the air fares of people brought to Kyproulla to vote for Ioannis Kasoulides in the presidential elections.
Nice Nik was leader of the party at the time of this generous election contribution, but he could claim he had no direct personal benefit, in contrast to Tof whose victorious campaign received double what had been given to that of Kasoulides. And DISY received nothing after the elections which meant that in total AKEL was given three times as much moollah by Vgen, because he felt Marxist ideologues were much more sensitive to bankers’ needs.
HIS EVALUATION was correct. During Tof’s presidency he had the unwavering support of the commie government. Tof had on more than one occasion called the governor of the Central Bank to demand that the rules were bent because they were an obstacle to some Vgen business plan.
And when the commies started their campaign against the banks, blaming them for all the country’s economic woes, not once did they mention Vgen or Laiki by name, preferring to direct their attacks on the Bank of Cyprus which was in a much better financial position. Even after they lumbered the taxpayer with a €1.8 billion debt, to keep Laiki afloat, their loyalty to their benefactor remained rock-solid – they still refused to say anything mildly critical of the generous banker.
Nothing illustrated AKEL’s loyalty to Vgen better than the sham investigation into the causes of the banking collapse carried out by consultancy firm Alvarez & Marsal. Then governor, and AKEL puppet, Professor Panicos instructed the firm to investigate the BoC, but not Laiki which had been closed down by then. His excuse, when the findings were released and dealt almost exclusively with the BoC, was that Laiki would be investigated in the second phase of the investigation, which he never commissioned.
In retrospect, Vgen’s deal with AKEL was a real bargain and it would be no exaggeration to say the commies undersold themselves. The loyalty, public support and political protection he received from them, was worth a lot more than the €1.5 million he paid.
COMMIE chief Andros dazzled us with his lack of intelligence, yet again when he reported another conspiracy against the party of the poor working people and filthy rich bankers. As he had done in the Dromolaxia case, he uncovered another ‘fabrication’ against AKEL, this time by the investigators looking into the Focus funding.
He said: “Information has come to me that says that the investigation authorities, show particular zeal in only investigating AKEL and not other parties which have admitted taking money and I would like to ask those guiding the investigators, but also the police leadership why is this zeal displayed only in the case of AKEL?”
Could this be because AKEL had publicly denied receiving any money from Focus and had filed libel suits against Politis which broke the story a year ago whereas the other party admitted taking the dosh? An upstanding, honest commie like Andros would have been happier if the investigators carried out their job with less zeal and failed to find anything.
Our information, however is that there was no special zeal and the information that went to airhead Andros about the zeal shown by investigators in the case of AKEL was in fact a fabrication.
THE SPEAKER of the Greek parliament, the zany Zoe Constantopoulou endeared herself to the political parties and our patriotic hacks after taking a swipe at the hapless Harris Georgiades for his alleged failure to zealously support Greece at the Eurogroup meetings.
After seeing prez Nik, Constantopoulou, speaking like a true armchair revolutionary, said Greece’s fight to rid itself of the “memorandum yoke concerned everyone who shared the values of freedom and democracy, of dignity but also solidarity among people.” Harris was not such a person, and for Zoe it was a “disappointing surprise when the solidarity towards this end was broken and undermined.”
If the EU turns down Greece’s latest reform proposals, on which desperately needed financial assistance depends, I bet it will be Harris’ fault because he did not order Schauble and Dijsselbloem to go easy on Greece and give the billions it needed without setting any conditions.
ZOE SAID a lot more, for which she was lavishly praised by all the Harris-hating hacks but what most impressed a Phil hack was her behaviour at a Nicosia tavern. Sitting in the tavern courtyard, the hack saw Zoe go inside and return a few minutes later. After a while she got up to leave but first embraced and thanked the owner.
The owner explained to the hack that when Zoe went inside the tavern earlier she had gone into the kitchen and “thanked all the people that worked there, one by one, as well as the waiters for their service.” Phil’s awestruck hack wrote, without a hint of irony: “Obvioulsy, this is a different level and if only we had one politician (as a token) with such a mentality.”
I failed to see why a politician that goes into a restaurant kitchen and thanks the staff personally is of a higher level and superior mentality. If our politicians started entering the kitchens of restaurants and thanking staff, would they automatically become of “a different level” and stop being the self-serving demagogues we know them to be?
I wonder if the Phil hack went into the tavern kitchen to thank the staff after he finished his meal, to show that Kyproulla has at least one hack on a different level from the rest of us.
IT IS NOT only Syriza’ speaker that is on a different level, but so is her comrade Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s narcissistic and self regarding finance minister. You have to be on a different level to find time to pose for the photographers of society mags, when you are finance minister of a country one step away from total meltdown.
While the EU was waiting for concrete reform proposals in order to release desperately-needed funds to Greece, Varoufakis and his wife were being photographed for Paris Match and Hello. The guy even had time to complain about the Paris Match photos. “I would have preferred the photoshoot never to have taken place,” he said. “I do not like the aesthetics of these photographs.”
Paris Match was affronted and issued a statement saying that he had given his approval to the photos before their publication. Last weekend Greek Hello featured photos of Mr and Mrs Varoufakis, but we have not heard if the self-worshipping finance minister found them aesthetically satisfactory. I can’t help thinking that if he devoted as much time to the preparation of the reform proposals for the Greek economy as he does to posing for photographer and promoting his coolness, Greece would have received the funding it needs by now.
How lucky we are to have the uncool, unhip, unglamorous Harris as our finance minister.
ON TUESDAY, the legacy Laiki administrator Andri Antoniadou will leave her job. Also leaving will be her second in command Panicos Eracleous and his assistant. In short there will be nobody left at Laiki who knows what is going on. Governor Crystal, meanwhile, as if to underline her ineptitude, has not yet decided who would replace Antoniadou, which means the new administrator will have no clue what is going on at Laiki.
He or she would be surrounded by documents and pending cases and nobody will be around, to inform him or her, what is happening and what needs urgent attention. Clueless Crystal did not consider it necessary to for the new administrator and her team to be briefed by the outgoing team so there could be a smooth handover. The new people will just have to start from scratch.
POOR OLD DISY deputy Rikkos Mappourides was turned into a political punching bag this week for daring to admit that he had used the services of a prostitute. There is no space to go into the disparaging of Mappourides and the endless sermonising by our society’s do-gooders and feminists.
AKEL deputy Skevi Koukouma declared that “everyone recognises that no woman is led to prostitution of her own free will, but because some rings pushed her there and because survival conditions are such that they cannot be faced otherwise.” The feminists’ analysis was more high-brow but no less of a generalisation (will go into it next week if there is space).
What Skevi and the feminists agreed on was that demand and purchase of sexual services should be criminalised, as was the case in Sweden. I was thinking that perhaps this irrationality could also be applied to politics. The people who bribe the politicians should be punished and not politicians, who take the money because, these men enter politics because “survival conditions are such that they cannot be faced otherwise.”
IT WAS very disappointing to hear that the latest ENI-KOGAS exploratory drilling at the very promising Amathusa plot did not find any exploitable quantities of gas. I was certain there would have been huge quantities of gas, because I still remember our national gas guru Solon Gasinis predicting on Trito radio last December, before the drilling had begun, that Amathusa plot “would have substantial and big quantities of gas”. ENI-NOGAS must have drilled in the wrong place, because Gasinis’ gut instinct is never wrong.
IF YOU are a visiting a restaurant today or tomorrow, please do not forget to go into the kitchen to thank all the staff one by one, even if you did not enjoy the meal or service. It is your chance to show, like Zoe Constantopoulou, that you are on a different level.