Greek shipping firm Focus gave more than €50 million to recipients in Cyprus – including political parties – mostly in the guise of unsecured loans, Attorney General Costas Klerides has revealed.
He told Phileleftheros newspaper that investigators were trying to ascertain how much money flowed from the company to Cyprus.
A paper trail is also being followed into how much of this amount went towards political party funding.
An initial probe into party funding by Focus was considered ‘insufficient’ so a wider investigation is now underway. Klerides said it still needed to be ascertained whether the money reached political parties or not. The probe is part of a wider police investigation into the cause of the island’s economic meltdown which is expected to see several case brought to trial soon.
There was uproar last month over revelations that Opposition Akel and ruling Disy received over a million and a half euros in donations in 2007-2008 from Focus.
Focus belongs to Michalis Zolotas - a close associate of bankrupt Laiki Bank’s top man Andreas Vgenopoulos who is strongly linked with last year’s collapse of the island’s banking sector.
Focus is said to have substantial non-performing loans in Cyprus. Left-wing Akel indirectly received €1.5 million and right-wing Disy a total of €50,000 and not €500,000 as originally reported in daily Politis.
Klerides also said Zolotas will be questioned and that there are some accounts in Greece that need to be looked into but approval is needed first form the Greek authorities.
The scandal has strengthened calls for political party financing transparency and immediate implementation of the Council of Europe’s GRECO report which demands detailed documentation of donations. Akel insists that the whole scandal is just another smear campaign against the party.
And that those who have spread similar allegations in the past must also prove them – otherwise they will be left exposed.