Money Laundering Probe of Greek Ex-Premier Simitis Closed

Former Prime Minister and PASOK leader Costas Simitis. (Photo by Eurokinissi)

ATHENS – Money-laundering charges he said were politically driven have been dropped against former Prime Minister and then-PASOK Socialist leader Costas Simitis.

Greece’s anti money-laundering authorities set aside the case that started when the government asked for the opening of bank accounts belonging to Simitis and members of his family and former government officials.

Simitis had described the allegations – which also implicated his brother, Spyros Simitis, as well as former public order minister Michalis Chrysochoidis and his deputy Vangelis Malesios – as “slanderous.”

The probe began after press reports from the testimony of a French citizen in 2006 relating to Greece’s upgrade of navy frigate and as part of the scrutiny into the acquisition of a C4I security system for the 2004 Athens Olympics.

It began in November, 2018 and a furious Simitis responded immediately that, “personal attacks can’t touch me,” and denounced the investigation.

“It is dangerous for the public life of the country to be dragged into the mud while we are still in a crisis,” he said then of Greece’s economic and austerity crisis that began in 2010 and is winding down.

With Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras falling in polls then after reneging on anti-austerity promises and Alternate Health Minister Pavlos Polakis said SYRIZA’s chances of returning to power depended partly on putting political rivals in jail, Simitis said that, “The obligation of governors is to come up with policies for the future and not mud about the past.”

Simitis, who ruled from 1996-2004, said last year that he has “nothing to hide,” and that the allegations in the Ta Nea daily newspaper were “scandalous,” and that he would respond in full after finding out “who is behind them.”

He also added that, “History is not written by the transient holders of executive power,” in another shot at the government.