Four days after the publication of an article that he considered to be an “orchestrated attempt to tarnish his name”, the President of the Republic decided to publicly express his reaction. He sent a message to “my friend Andreas Paraschos to substantiate what was unfounded (allegations) in his recent article”. The President did not specify what exactly the journalist should document, what were the unfounded elements. Thus, let us try to find out through the text published by Andreas Paraschos.
He wrote about the scheme with the “golden passports”, through which, as the President “allegedly confessed during a night of joy in Athens, his Office was gaining 300 million a year, which he was then taking to the Seychelles on private flights.” Using the method of forensic doctors, we break down the allegation and the text into the following components:
- A confidentiality statement attributed to the President
- Income for his office from the “golden passports”
- Income amount, 300 million per year (Paraschos said ‘per year’ was a wrong statement)
- Export of income to the Seychelles
- Transfer of income by private flights
On the first point, one cannot ignore the fact that, in the first phase, “SYRIZA sources” denied that a similar statement was made, while after a day, Alexis Tsipras also made a statement, and categorically denied that “such comments were made”. We leave this to discuss it later.
With regard to the issue of income made by the (law) office of the President of the Republic or his family, this is a given, documented one: The official data show that more than 50 passports were issued with applications received / processed by the “Nikos Anastasiades (law) office”. The involvement of the family business in a similar process, in which the President of the Republic participates in the approval of granting passports cannot be accepted, it is clearly incompatible with the rule of law. Incompatible with the rule of law is the scheme itself, which, in essence, is a trade in European passports, which by its nature is conducted on black market terms, it is a black market affair. This makes it a source of corruption, which has been proven in practice and documented.
The question of the amount of the family office income (considering that the ‘annually’ was erased) is of relative importance. More important, regardless of the level of income, is the fact that, as we have already indicated above, this revenue is made from activities that are incompatible with the rule of law and the position of a president of the republic. Also, even though this may have some value in legal terms, if one talks about 10, 30, 100 or 300 million, this does not and cannot ignore or underestimate the substance, incompatibility with rule of law.
The fourth point of the allegation is the export of funds from the family office or more broadly the family of the President to whom it belongs. On the subject, not of the specific funds, but of the family funds in general, there is already evidence from bank accounts in 2013. They show that, on the eve of the haircut that affected tens of thousands of depositors, the family sent abroad tens of millions of euro. The legal dimension associated with “where they were exported” then and now is a valid issue to raise, because it determines whether it is a legal activity or not. However, this element has a more specific meaning and takes a different dimension than the legal one when it is connected with the President’s family. It raises moral and ethical issues, no matter where this money goes.
On this latter issue, the family’s private flights to the Seychelles with the aircraft of the Saudi ‘friend’ is an indisputable fact. If these flights were also associated with a transfer of funds, we cannot substantiate, because of lack of information.
Summarizing the essence of what Andreas Paraschos wrote, we conclude:
“The ‘golden passports’ bring significant income to the President’s family. Income was exported to the Seychelles by private flights of the family “.
If the journalist ‘corrects’ this, if he writes that ‘income is not exported to the Seychelles’, does this bring any substantial change of meaning, to the fact that: The family office benefits from the activity of selling passports, and the President of the Republic participates in the passport approval process, which are incompatible with the rule of law?
What remains to verify is the claim that the President “allegedly confessed …”. The following are important elements to consider:
- SYRIZA “sources” denied the allegation.
- Next, a refutation by Alexis Tsipras followed
- Four days after the publication, the President of the Republic reacted.
Instead of offering any answers, on the basis of the above, here are some questions:
- Why did Tsipras’ rebuttal was needed? Why the initial ‘source’ from the SYRIZA party, which, certainly, could not act without the explicit consent of the leader, was not enough?
- Did anyone expect that no matter what the facts were, it would ever be possible to have a different public statement by Tsipras?
- Is it not extremely paradoxical, for the President of the Republic to need four whole days to react on a publication, that made allegations, which, the President himself said, were an “orchestrated attempt to tarnish his name”?
- Did the President wait for denials before he reacted, and, in fact, the ‘SYRIZA source’ was not enough, raising the need for a reaction from Alexis Tsipras himself, delaying the President’s answer?
One last issue remains to deal with, the ‘root’ or ‘logic’ of Andreas Paraschos’ reference to the “golden passports” and the family income. It is the connection of the income with flirting with a two-state solution. First, let us repeat if, family income and flirting with two states are two indisputable facts. Second, their connection, the link of the one with the other by the journalist, on the one hand, is based on two admissible facts, on the other hand, this connection is an opinion. And opinions need no proof, as the law and case law of the ECHR, tell us.