Greek House Committee Finds No Criminal Allegations Against Loans Given to Political Parties, Media Owners

A parliamentary committee decided that there is no evidence of criminal activities regarding loans given by Greek banks to political parties and media organizations in previous years.

The committee that oversaw the investigation concluded that there is no criminal liability of politicians and media owners regarding the loans they received and their obligations to the banks.

SYRIZA rapporteur Spyros Lappas announced on Monday evening, that the decision means no preliminary inquiry committee will be set up. The report was submitted to political parties.

The committee head, MP Antonis Balomenakis, released the summary of the report on Monday. The full document will be submitted to House Speaker Nikos Voutsis on January 23.

The committee investigated political parties and mass media separately. Star, Ant1, Pegasus, Alpha, Mega, DOL, Parapolitika, Daily Press, Alter, Avgi, Proto Thema, SKAI, Herald, MadTV, Raelmedia, Attica Publications, Ideodromio, EBE, Naftemporiki and Kontramedia were included in the investigation.

Regarding loan agreements made by political parties, the committee looked into the financial aid given to New Democracy, PASOK, KKE and SYRIZA and found no clear evidence of wrongdoings.

Balomenakis said the text attempts to capture “in a very specific way” a variety of violations and offenses in connection with the issue discussed in the committee.
“What became clear to all citizens during the parliamentary committee meetings is that in many cases of lending to parties and media, especially after the start of the crisis, entrenched and necessary guarantees used by banks were bypassed and guarantees were given to inconsistent borrowers,” he said, adding that in other cases, statements which were obviously false were accepted as true.

A result of this tactic, Balomenakis continued, was to “favor blatantly and openly” New Democracy and PASOK, especially after the start of the crisis, as well as large media groups which benefited from loans granted without guarantees.

On Thursday, opposition parties will submit their own proposals regarding loans to media. Reportedly, New Democracy will ask for the further investigation of Avgi newspaper.