Greek opposition parties New Democracy and Movement for Change continue to demand an answer from the government about an alleged financial scandal involving Manolis Petsitis, a friend of Digital Policy Minister Nikos Pappas.
Petsitis is also a friend of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and has been known to act as a Maximos Mansion representative.
A group of twenty-one New Democracy lawmakers have asked digital policy minister Pappas in an open session of parliament about his relationship with Petsitis, and why the man says he belongs to the inner circle of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
When asked in parliament about Petsitis’ role, and in what capacity he meets with the CEOs of companies such as the Public Gas Company (DEPA) and Greek Fertilizers and Chemicals (ELFE), Pappas answered bluntly: “Ask Mr. Petsitis.”
Petsitis, an old classmate of Pappas’, has claimed he is a “Maximos Mansion person”. He is known to spend a great deal of money in night clubs and often posts pictures on social media of himself singing on stage with famous singers.
There is a photo of him at the Prime Minister’s residence, Maximos Mansion, on the night SYRIZA won the September 2015 election.
Petsitis deleted all his Facebook posts once opposition party MPs began the inquiry regarding the exact services for which he received at least €200,000 from businessman Lavrentis Lavrentiadis. Lavrentiadis himself is currently under investigation for fraud, and owes millions of euros to the DEPA.
Former House Speaker and leading SYRIZA member Zoe Konstantopoulou said that Petsitis was known to accompany Nikos Pappas on all his travels. Speaking on SKAI television, she also said that the man “was the director of Alexis Tsipras’ office when SYRIZA was in the opposition.”
She added that Petsitis was seen “carrying Tsipras’ briefcase to his appointments.”
“I had visits from Mr. Petsitis in his official capacity as the representative of the services of Maximos Mansion,” the prime minister’s office, said Theodoros Kitsakos, former CEO of DEPA.
A probe of Petsitis’ finances and previous occupations shows that he worked as a pizza restaurant waiter and had a declared annual income of €4,500-5,000. From 2015 and onward his income skyrocketed to about €200,000 annually while his lifestyle became increasingly lavish.
To Vima newspaper reported that Petsitis also formed a stock company named “Palaia Prosfygika Alexandras” just after a bill regarding the use of these buildings passed in parliament. The buildings, located on Alexandras Street in Athens, had been used as refugee housing.