In an unprecedented move, Alternate Health Minister Pavlos Polakis called and, quite possibly illegally recorded a phone conversation with the central banker of Greece, Yiannis Stournaras, during which the high profile SYRIZA politician questioned the governor of the Bank of Greece (BoG) about his decision to call a meeting in order to examine the circumstances under which the state-owned Bank of Attica gave the controversial loan to Mr Polakis, as Proto Thema revealed.
The exact content of the phone conversation came to light after the Minister passed on the transcript to reporter Kostas Vaxevanis, who in turn posted it on his website.
From the published conversation it becomes apparent that Mr Polakis is using blackmailing tactics against the central banker, calling on him to look into a series of other loans of political opponents after examining his own consumer loan. At one point in the conversation, Mr Polakis appears to be threatening Mr Stournaras that he will go to his office and not leave until the central banker orders the inspection of other loans too.
The blatant intervention by a minister in the work of the independent Bank of Greece has no precedent and is reminiscent of authoritarian regimes such as the one in Venezuela. Using his usual bullying and thuggish methods, the Minister is trying to “persuade” the central banker to do his job “properly”.
In any other democratic country, the Judicial system would have already intervened and charged Mr Polakis with blackmail, threats, abuse of power, illegal recording of conversations, slander, etc.
Following is the transcript of the phone call:
– Polakis: “Mr Stournaras?”
– Stournaras: “Speaking”
– Polakis: “Pavlos Polakis here”
– Stournaras: “Hello, how do you do?”
– Polakis: “I’m very good. I called because I want to tell you that you are doing very well and checking the loan I got from Attica Bank. This is your institutional role “
– Stournaras: “But we did not do anything”
– Polakis: “I saw you issued an announcement”
– Stournaras: “We did not release any announcements”
– Polakis: “But the whole world is talking about you checking my loan .. And, in any case, I do not want you to tell me something … You did right. I would like to say to you: Once you have finished checking out my own loan, please check out the following loans:
1. The loan of Kirikas Chania, to Mr Mitsotakis, who had not paid back a drachma for 12 years,
2. The loans of New Democracy and PASOK,
3. The loans of a series of politicians, such as Maria Spyraki, Adonis Georgiadis and others who have taken a ton of money, it is doubtful any of them have paid back a penny, and all is good an well,
4. The Proto Thema loans – of € 33 million – a large amount of which is due from 2017 but the central bank has done nothing.
I called you to tell you that you are tightly checking me, but once you’re done with me because I fear nothing, check those loans too. Because if you do not check them, I will come from there and will not leave if you do not order their audits “
– Stournaras: “Well… let me tell you. There was a report in the press and the Supervisory Authority called for an audit over the product they offer because Attica Bank is one of those banks we control, while the others are systemic banks and we can not control them”
– Polakis: “You don’t say, Mr Stournaras? So you can not control the banks that issued loans that bankrupt the country and brought the memorandums and you can only check the co-operatives? What kind of a central banker are you? “
– Stournaras: “No, it has changed now if SSM (Single Supervisory Mechanism) tells me I will do it”
– Polakis: “The SSM told you to check Attica and my loan? OK. Let me also ask you a second question. Because Pandalakis is yours as much as I know … “
– Stournaras: “Oh, all of them are mine”
– Polakis: “Yes, yours, your associates, etc …Let me tell you, did Mr Pantalakis give you my own loan and you gave it to Proto Thema?”
– Stournaras: “No, I did not do such a thing. God forbid”
– Stournaras: “Well, well”
– Polakis: “Good afternoon”
– Stournaras: Good afternoon.
Major opposition party New Democracy (ND) called on the Justice to intervene for an “attempted extortion” of the country’s central banker.
Greece has turned into a banana republic the statement by ND read.