P3B Orion 500-mln-euro upgrade expose prompts threats against PT

Govt officials are threatening the media for drawing attention to the controversial defence contract

Ministers and ruling party deputies are continuing (futile) efforts to stop the publication of exclusive reports by Proto Thema concerning a 500-mln-dollar state contract for the upgrading of five turbo prop planes that are almost 50 years old.

The Government Council for Foreign Affairs and Defence (KYSEA) decided on March 15 to upgrade the P-3B maritime surveillance aircraft. The decision for the upgrade by Independent Greeks (ANEL) Defence Minister Panos Kammenos was met with increased criticism by opposition party, in the public opinion and even deputies of the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) government.

At a time when state coffers are running low, half a billion dollars are being allocated to upgrade planes designed in the 1960s. Instead of revising the decision for the spending, Deputy Defence Minister Nikos Toskas said: “Don’t think that the government today will sit with crossed arms concerning the mud-raking with action against specific oligarchs,” referring to Proto Thema.

“Check their accounts, Mr. Minister! They have their accounts!” said ANEL deputy Nikos Nikolopoulos in Parliament.