NYT: Greek Elites Are Starting to Feel the Pain

nyt - the new york times“In Greece, Elites Are Starting to Feel the Pain” is the title of the article by the U.S. newspaper “New York Times,” mentioning that the Greek crème de la crème is no longer protected from being prosecuted for scandals.

The American newspaper notes that Greeks protest to the unfairness of the austerity measures passed by the Greek government, raising taxes and trimming salaries for average Greeks, while leaving top-ranking state officials unaccountable for their part in creating the mess in the first place.

The NYT publication emphasizes that this situation has begun to change, satisfying a large portion of the population, adding, “with new vigor, Greek prosecutors working independently of politicians — and sometimes in the face of passive resistance from them — are pursuing corruption cases against a widening pool of current and former high-ranking state officials and members of the business elite once deemed untouchable.”

Analysts add that the prosecutors have more sway now than ever, as the Greek people having endured more than three years of austerity, are seeking punishment for those who ransacked the state.

“The combination of the strong public desire for catharsis and a weak government has given the prosecutors far more room to maneuver than they have had in the recent past.”

The article goes on reporting on the arrests of Greek prominent businessmen Dimitris Kontominas, Angel Fillipidi and several other associates in the Hellenic Postbank case, as well as the arrest of Sotiris Emmanouil for taking bribes in the Greek-German submarine deal, noting that for the first time the prosecutors are deepening the investigations into defense contract scandals, while making a reference to former Transport Minister Michalis Liapis’ case.

“At the front-line of this unprecedented crackdown are the capital’s two top corruption prosecutors — Eleni Raikou, 52, and Popi Papandreou, 36, who is also known as “the terminator” for her meticulous investigations.”

Both women compiled the report that led to former Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos’ landmark verdict and conviction for money laundering last October, adds the N.Y.C. newspaper.

But, as the newspaper notes, there is little or no support shown to the efforts of the judicial officials.

“Even as graft scandals multiply, no new employees have been hired, leaving four corruption prosecutors with a mounting caseload. In one office, telephones have a bar on international calls, obliging officials seeking access to suspects’ bank accounts to call from their mobile phones, at their own expense,” explains the article.