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  • DEPA scandal: Petsitis, Kitsakos a time bomb for PM’s office

    Was there a transfer of illegal campaign and other contributions in order to serve Lavrentiadis?

    ΤοΒΗΜΑ Team

    At the first session of the Council of State in 1929 Greek statesman Eleftherios Venizelos famously declared “There are still judges in Athens,” meaning that the Greek judiciary was impartial.

    Today, one might pose his famous statement as a question in regard to the latest scandal of the SYRIZA-Independent Greeks government, a scandal that is being revealed before the fall of the government.

    The scandal is being revealed by one of the government’s own people, Theodoros Kitsakos, a SYRIZA cadre who along with Manolis Petsitis are a  time bomb hovering over the PM’s office.

    Kitsakos, the former CEO of the Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) is being prosecuted on felony charges pertaining to a company owned by Lavrentis Lavrentiadis, ELFE (Hellenic Fertilizers and Chemicals).

    Now, he is ready to blow the government’s “system” out of the water.

    It is a system that appeared to play games involving millions of euros, offering businessman Lavrentis Lavrentiadis favourable arrangements regarding his debts to the state and essentially blocking the state from collecting 120mn euros in arrears.

    Even as the government looked on as foreclosed properties were and are being auctioned off and bank deposits were and are being seized to cover the debt of private citizens (as low as 500 euros), Lavrentiadis  enjoyed privileged treatment from the government.

    Even though there were ministers who knew that there is a scandal, the PM’s office was ordering the shady Manolis Petsitis to do its dirty business.

    Kitsakos’ revelations to the daily Ta Nea’s reporter Christos Kolonas, about how Petsitis freely strolled in and out of DEPA and the PM’s office – where he obviously felt at home –  puts the affair in a different light.

    The fact that he said he was going as a “representative of services of Maximos Mansion [the PM’s office]” completely confirms the existence of a triangle of corrupt vested interests consisting of the PM’s office, DEPA, and ELFE.

    Prosecutor’s Office obliged to probe

    All this means that case meets the preconditions for it to be sent to parliament and for prosecutors to intervene.

    Was there a breach of duty on the part of seven ministers who turned a blind eye?

    Was there a transfer of illegal campaign and other contributions in order to serve Lavrentiadis?

    The independent judiciary must act post haste to summon Kitsakos to testify regarding:

    1.     How many times did Petsitis visit DEPA and how many times did he meet with Kitsakos and his predecessor? The former CEO stated that he had heard about Petsitis’ visits with former CEO Spiros Paleogiannis. The question is which special missions were assigned to him both before and after Kitsakos.

    2.     What was Petsitis requesting from DEPA’s CEO? Were they discussing the weather? Did they simply have friendly chats about the left-wing government’s successive miracles? What was the subject of these discussions, which likely took place a number of times?

    3.     Kitsakos became the head of DEPA in early December, 2015. Petsitis’ professional contacts with Lavrentiadis began in 2016. Why was he visiting the company for meetings with the former CEO after SYRIZA came to power?

    4.     Kitsakos charged that in the two-year period over which ELFE’s debt burgeoned, seven ministers instructed him not to involve himself in issues pertaining to the company’s debt. During that period, Kitsakos frequently shuttled between the PM’s office, DEPA, and ELFE. What was the reason? Was he negotiating on behalf of Lavrentiadis and simultaneous acting as a “representative of the services of the PM’s office”? If all this was going on, then we are dealing with the epitome of corrupt vested interests.

    The Prosecutor’s Office is obliged to summon Petsitis himself to explain the role that had been assigned to him by his friends Alexis Tsipras and Nikos Pappas. Why was he visiting DEPA?  What services might he have provided to DEPA that would justify a remuneration 0f 200,000 euros over two years, at a time when games with Lavrentiadis were in full swing?

    Kitsakos’ statement to Ta Nea

    DEPA’s former CEO maintains that he has received threats after his 1 December interview in Ta Nea. His full statement is as follows:

    1.     Regarding the “Kesariani coterie”: I never had any link with or activity in that neighbourhood, nor was I a schoolmate of Pappas and Petsitis, with whom I have a 20-year age difference.

    2.     Regarding Mr. Petsitis: From what I have heard, Manolis Petsitis used to visit DEPA and the Paleogiannis management. I received visits in my office at DEPA from Mr. Petsitis in his capacity as representative of the services of Maximos Mansion [the PM’s office].

    3.     Regarding the judiciary: The judiciary has taken charge of the case, and we all look to the objective meting out of justice. When the time comes, all the necessary evidence will be submitted to the judiciary.

    4.     I wish to state that recently, and in particular after the press release, the news conference, and my interview with a newspaper, I have received threats regarding which I have informed the competent police authorities and I intend to take appropriate legal action.

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