SYRIZA Charges New Democracy, PASOK With New Scandal

FILE - Greek Government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Giannis Panagopoulos)

NICOSIA – Greece’s ruling Radical Left SYRIZA-led coalition said that German officials have sent evidence charging state officials under the former ruling New Democracy Conservatives and then-PASOK Socialists took bribes from the rail firm Deutsche Bahn.

Government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos said it implicates SYRIZA’s political rivals in another scandal, this one charging that the unnamed officials took money from the German firm involving contracts for construction work on the Athens metro from 2003-07.

Around 370,000 euros ($455,784) was paid in bribes, media reports said. Deutsche Bahn was part of a consortium with Thales, Lahmeyer and OMEK to contracted to supervise rail works for the Athens subway system..

Tzanakopoulos said New Democracy and PASOK, now folded into a new center-left party the Movement for Change, had ruined Greece.

The government, which includes the pro-austerity, marginal, jingoistic Independent Greeks (ANEL) of Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, a bitter enemy of New Democracy after leaving that party to form his own, pushed Parliament to probe charges 10 of its political rivals took as much as 50 million euros ($61.59 million) from the Swiss pharmaceutical company to fix prices and control the flu shot market.

That’s based on the secret testimony of three secret witnesses whose stories were said to keep changing and who haven’t produced any evidence beyond their claims, reports said.

Tzanakopoulos said submission of a proposal by New Democracy for the formation of an investigative committee to probe whether former health ministers Panayiotis Kouroublis and Andreas Xanthos, as well as Alternate Health Minister Pavlos Polakis, from SYRIZA are guilty of breaches of faith in 2015 and 2016 was a “diversionary tactic.”