April 29 Greek lawmakers on Wednesday issued an
inconclusive finding in a bribe scandal that could force Prime
Minister Costas Karamanlis to call an early election as Greece
struggles to cope with the global financial crisis.
During its five years in power, the government has been
shaken by scandals ranging from controversial land swaps between
the state and a wealthy monastery to suspect government bond
sales to state-run pension funds.
Here are the main scandals that have rocked the government:
* FERRY CONTRACTS - April 2009:
Greek lawmakers decided to launch an investigation into a
former minister's involvement in a shipping scandal after
prosecutors passed the case to parliament. Ruling party deputy
Aristotle Pavlides denies any wrongdoing in the case, brought to
light by a shipowner who testified that the minister's aide
demanded bribes to grant a contract to run subsidised Aegean
island ferry routes.
* VATOPEDI SCANDAL - September 2008:
Merchant marine minister George Voulgarakis resigned amid
mounting criticism from within his New Democracy party over
property transactions, including a land swap between the state
and the wealthy Vatopedi monastery where his wife acted as
agent. He insisted no laws were broken but the finance ministry
annulled the deal and a judicial investigation showed deputy
ministers were involved in the land swap which media said cost
taxpayers over 100 million euros ($131.9 million).
Parliament set up an investigating committee in October. The
same day, one of the prime minister's closest aides, Minister of
State Theodore Roussopoulos, resigned over his suspected role in
the land deals. In December, the parliamentary investigation
failed to reach an agreement on who was responsible for the
scandal and took no further steps.
* SEX, LIES AND DVDs - February 2008:
Former Culture Ministry General Secretary Christos
Zahopoulos resigned and jumped from his fifth-floor balcony
after a DVD showing him having sex with his female assistant was
taken to the office of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis. What
media dubbed the "sex, lies and DVDs" scandal shook Greek
society and cut the government majority to one deputy after the
temporary resignation of an MP. Zahopoulos survived the fall.
* SIEMENS - May 2008:
Greece is investigating whether German engineering group
Siemens (SIEGn.DE) bribed companies and officials to win deals
including the security contract for the 2004 Olympics. A
prosecutor has filed charges and an investigating judge has
launched an inquiry. A German court convicted former Siemens
executive Reinhard Siekaczek in July for his role in setting up
slush funds used to win contracts. Siemens itself gave a tally
of at least 1.3 billion euros in suspect payments booked as fees
*INDIAN WORKERS - December 2007:
Labour Minister Vassilis Magginas resigned after the Greek
press said he employed an uninsured Indian family at his country
home. The scandal came at a time of unpopular pension reforms
fiercely opposed by labour unions. He denied any wrongdoing,
saying the Indians were his guests.
* BONDS - March 2007:
A 280-million euro, 12-year structured government bond with
a 6.25 percent coupon, issued in February 2007 by the Finance
Ministry and underwritten by JP Morgan (JPM.N), passed through
several brokers before ending up with state pension funds at
inflated prices. Labour Minister Savvas Tsitourides was sacked
and the deal reversed. Prosecutors have announced hundreds of
charges from fraud to money laundering, but have not named any
individuals. The investigation goes on.
* WIRE-TAPPING - February 2006:
In March 2006, the government revealed that more than 100
people, including Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, had their
mobile phones tapped around the time of the Athens 2004
Olympics. A two-year judicial investigation into the so-called
"Greek Watergate" was dropped in January when prosecutors said
they were unable to find evidence leading to the culprits.
(Reporting by Renee Maltezou; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)