Connect with us

Latest

Hellenic Insider

Greece

SYRIZA's fight against corruption: Appoints tire shop owner as hospital vice president

While health workers live in communal housing, SYRIZA appoints a tire shop owner and partisan hack as vice-president of a public hospital, leases him a luxury house and a car.

Published

on

0 Views

In the strange and surreal world of SYRIZA-governed Greece, it should come as no surprise that the same regime which is putting on a public show of “nipping corruption in the bud” is engaged in some of the most egregiously corrupt practices Greece has ever seen. And that’s saying a lot.
And so we have the story of Haralambos Panotopoulos, apparently a one-man success story, living the dream in the SYRIZA-led “success story” of Greece, whose economy we are told is improving with each passing day.

In an undated photo, Haralambos Panotopoulos (in blue) is pictured at his tire shop with an unnamed individual.


Panotopoulos, previously the owner of a tire shop, was appointed by deputy health minister Pavlos Polakis as his “right-hand man” in the ministry. When even that promotion was insufficient for Panotopoulos’ services, however, the former tire shop owner was then appointed as an adviser to “Health Units S.A.,” a company operated by the health ministry with oversight over the country’s public health facilities. Panotopoulos’ assignment was to serve as the vice president of the General Hospital of Santorini, in a decision published in Greek e-government website “Diavgeia” on January 9.

Public Hospital of Santorini


For his services, Panotopoulos is receiving a salary of €3,897 euros per month, or €46,000 per year, in a country where 48 percent of the population is receiving an income at or below the poverty line. Who said there’s no upward mobility in Greece?
Panotopoulos’ meteoric rise could be said to be unprecedented. He is a graduate of the Technical Educational Institute of Piraeus’ School of Applied Technology. Until 2012 he was the owner of a tire shop in the Athens suburb of Ilioupoli, but his fortunes seem to have changed in September 2015, when following the re-election of SYRIZA, the newly-appointed deputy health minister Pavlos Polakis appointed Panotopoulos to his parliamentary office with a decision posted on the “Diavgeia” portal on March 24, 2017.
Surely, Panotopoulos’ rapid rise up the ranks has nothing to do with his political sympathies towards SYRIZA. As reported by the Proto Thema newspaper, Panotopoulos, via his social media accounts, sings the graces of Polakis and prime minister Alexis Tsipras, whom he calls the “great captain.” His social media postings also include a strong dosage of socialist realism.


But that’s not all! According to newer revelations which have surfaced following allegations from the National Federation of Public Hospital Employees (POEDIN), Health Units S.A. leased and furnished a luxury villa in 2016 with public funds. It is in this villa where Panotopoulos is said to reside.

As if that weren’t enough, Panotopoulos has been provided an automobile for his transport on the island of Santorini, with a long-term lease paid by the Greek state (read: taxpayer).
In a recent statement, POEDIN alleged:

“At a time when the Health Ministry does not have even a few euros to spare for the nation’s hospitals in order to repair x-ray and CT scan equipment and when surgical procedures are being postponed due to a shortage of supplies, and when necessary drugs are not in supply, it is a provocation for funds from the budget of the Health Ministry to be disbursed for the provision of princely amenities to personnel of Health Units S.A. in Santorini. If this isn’t a scandal, it is surely a provocation.
It is a provocation at a time when public hospitals lack even bandages, and when 50 employees of the Hospital of Santorini reside in a Health Center commune due to high rents, that Mr. Panotopoulos lives in a residence which is paid for by the battered budget of the Health Ministry.”

Communal housing which is home to 50 health workers at the Public Hospital of Santorini. Photo provided by POEDIN.


As there has been up until now no report that Panotopoulos has resigned or been relieved of his position, one could safely assume that he remains in his position. And indeed that is the case. As of this writing, Panotopoulos’ name still appears on the website of Santorini Hospital, as vice president and special adviser.
After all, why should Panotopoulos resign? Polakis has not only publicly provided his full support, but has viciously attacked those who have revealed this blatant example of corruption and clientelism, shamelessly and brazenly calling them:

“…well-fed rats of KEELPNO [Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention] who have started publicly mudslinging and twisting the truth in order to deflect attention from the Novartis Scandal and to slander us with unbelievable lies, foolishly thinking that they will stop us.”

Greek deputy health minister Pavlos Polakis


I don’t know about you, but in my book, that’s the way a mafioso speaks. And that’s exactly who is governing Greece at this time, a gang of mafiosi, self-proclaimed “leftists” who have imposed the most brutal and inhuman austerity measures Greece has experienced in its nine years of economic crisis. They continue to engage in the most brazen examples of corruption, graft, nepotism, and clientelism all the while putting on a show of “fighting” corruption via the ludicrous Novartis Scandal — which unfortunately has fooled and fanaticized many people who still blame the previous governments for every ill in Greek society — and via its non-existent “clean-up” of Greek football, all the while arrogantly protecting “national savior” and pistol-wielding oligarch Ivan Savvidis.
Opinions expressed are those of the author alone and may not reflect the opinions and viewpoints of Hellenic Insider, its publisher, its editors, or its staff, writers, and contributors.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of

Latest

Putin stuns crowd: ‘700 hostages captured by ISIS in Syria including US and European citizens’ (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 4.

Alex Christoforou

Published

on

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at Vladimir Putin’s stunning statement at the Valdai Discussion Club meeting in Sochi, where the Russian President claimed that 700 hostages have been captured in Syria by Islamic State terrorists, including US and European citizens, and are being killed off 10 people a day.

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Speaking at the annual Valdai Discussion Club meeting in Sochi, Russian President Vladimir Putin told those in attendance that ISIS had taken 700 hostages in the US-controlled area of Syria.

Putin said at the annual Valdai Discussion Club meeting in Sochi…

“We now see what is happening on the left bank of the Euphrates River, our colleagues know that. This territory is under the protection of our American partners, they rely there on the Kurdish armed forces. But they obviously did not work it through, members of Daesh remained in several settlements.”

According to the statement made by the Russian President, the 700 hostages captured in Syria by ISIS terrorists include US and European citizens and are being killed off 10 people a day.

ISIS terrorists “have delivered ultimatums and made certain demands, threatening to shoot ten people every day,” Putin said, adding that Daesh already executed ten hostages two days ago.

The Russian President stressed that ISIS had expanded its presence in the US controlled area, taking 130 families hostage, which is nearly 700 people, including US and European nationals.

“They [terrorists] put forward ultimatums and certain demands, and warned that if these ultimatums are not followed up to, they will be gunning down 10 people everyday. The day before yesterday they executed ten people.”

“Our information shows that several citizens of the United States and [some] European countries were also taken hostage [by Daesh].”

Via RT

“This is just horrible, it is a catastrophe,” Putin said, adding that the US forces that claim to control the area around the east bank of the Euphrates River, relying on the Kurdish armed forces on the ground, stay conspicuously silent on this crisis.

Some US and European citizens are among the hostages,” the president warned, adding that “everyone is silent … as if nothing has happened.”

“They [the US] have clearly fallen short of their target,” Putin said, adding that Washington and its allies apparently failed to combat terrorists in the part of Syria they occupy. Islamic State terrorists continue to expand their presence in the area, he said.

Russian forces dealt a “heavy blow” to terrorists in Syria, eliminating many of them and forcing others to lay down their arms, Putin said. “Over these years, we liberated almost 95 percent of the Syrian Republic’s territory,” the president added.

“We maintained its sovereignty and did not let [the Syrian] state fall apart,” he continued, arguing that Russia’s actions helped “stabilize the situation in the region.”

He also praised Turkey for its efforts in driving terrorists out of northern Syria. “They work and we see it,” he said, adding that the Turkish side “does its best to fulfill its obligations” as he hailed the “effectiveness” of Ankara’s actions.

Putin has called on the world’s nations to “unite their efforts” to combat terrorism effectively. This cooperation has been reduced to some “separate instances of cooperation, which are not enough,” he added.

 

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

Skripal and Khashoggi: A Tale of Two Disappearances

Two disappearances, and two different responses.

Published

on

Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Two disappearances, and two very different responses from Western governments, which illustrates their rank hypocrisy.

When former Russian spy Sergei Skripal went missing in England earlier this year, there was almost immediate punitive action by the British government and its NATO allies against Moscow. By contrast, Western governments are straining with restraint towards Saudi Arabia over the more shocking and provable case of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The outcry by Western governments and media over the Skripal affair was deafening and resulted in Britain, the US and some 28 other countries expelling dozens of Russian diplomats on the back of unsubstantiated British allegations that the Kremlin tried to assassinate an exiled spy with a deadly nerve agent. The Trump administration has further tightened sanctions citing the Skripal incident.

London’s case against Moscow has been marked by wild speculation and ropey innuendo. No verifiable evidence of what actually happened to Sergei Skripal (67) and his daughter Yulia has been presented by the British authorities. Their claim that President Vladimir Putin sanctioned a hit squad armed with nerve poison relies on sheer conjecture.

All we know for sure is that the Skripals have been disappeared from public contact by the British authorities for more than seven months, since the mysterious incident of alleged poisoning in Salisbury on March 4.

Russian authorities and family relatives have been steadfastly refused any contact by London with the Skripal pair, despite more than 60 official requests from Moscow in accordance with international law and in spite of the fact that Yulia is a citizen of the Russian Federation with consular rights.

It is an outrage that based on such thin ice of “evidence”, the British have built an edifice of censure against Moscow, rallying an international campaign of further sanctions and diplomatic expulsions.

Now contrast that strenuous reaction, indeed hyper over-reaction, with how Britain, the US, France, Canada and other Western governments are ever-so slowly responding to Saudi Arabia over the Khashoggi case.

After nearly two weeks since Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, the Saudi regime is this week finally admitting he was killed on their premises – albeit, they claim, in a “botched interrogation”.

Turkish and American intelligence had earlier claimed that Khashoggi was tortured and murdered on the Saudi premises by a 15-member hit squad sent from Riyadh.

Even more grisly, it is claimed that Khashoggi’s body was hacked up with a bone saw by the killers, his remains secreted out of the consulate building in boxes, and flown back to Saudi Arabia on board two private jets connected to the Saudi royal family.

What’s more, the Turks and Americans claim that the whole barbaric plot to murder Khashoggi was on the orders of senior Saudi rulers, implicating Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The latest twist out of Riyadh, is an attempt to scapegoat “rogue killers” and whitewash the House of Saudi from culpability.

The fact that 59-year-old Khashoggi was a legal US resident and a columnist for the Washington Post has no doubt given his case such prominent coverage in Western news media. Thousands of other victims of Saudi vengeance are routinely ignored in the West.

Nevertheless, despite the horrific and damning case against the Saudi monarchy, the response from the Trump administration, Britain and others has been abject.

President Trump has blustered that there “will be severe consequences” for the Saudi regime if it is proven culpable in the murder of Khashoggi. Trump quickly qualified, however, saying that billion-dollar arms deals with the oil-rich kingdom will not be cancelled. Now Trump appears to be joining in a cover-up by spinning the story that the Khashoggi killing was done by “rogue killers”.

Britain, France and Germany this week issued a joint statement calling for “a credible investigation” into the disappearance. But other than “tough-sounding” rhetoric, none of the European states have indicated any specific sanctions, such as weapons contracts being revoked or diplomatic expulsions.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “concerned” by the gruesome claims about Khashoggi’s killing, but he reiterated that Ottawa would not be scrapping a $15 billion sale of combat vehicles to Riyadh.

The Saudi rulers have even threatened retaliatory measures if sanctions are imposed by Western governments.

Saudi denials of official culpability seem to be a brazen flouting of all reason and circumstantial evidence that Khashoggi was indeed murdered in the consulate building on senior Saudi orders.

This week a glitzy international investor conference in Saudi Arabia is being boycotted by top business figures, including the World Bank chief, Jim Yong Kim, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Britain’s venture capitalist Richard Branson. Global firms like Ford and Uber have pulled out, as have various media sponsors, such as CNN, the New York Times and Financial Times. Withdrawal from the event was in response to the Khashoggi affair.

A growing bipartisan chorus of US Senators, including Bob Corker, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham and Chris Murphy, have called for the cancellation of American arms sales to Saudi Arabia, as well as for an overhaul of the strategic partnership between the two countries.

Still, Trump has rebuffed calls for punitive response. He has said that American jobs and profits depend on the Saudi weapons market. Some 20 per cent of all US arms sales are estimated to go to the House of Saud.

The New York Times this week headlined: “In Trump’s Saudi Bargain, the Bottom Line Proudly Stands Out”.

The Trump White House will be represented at the investment conference in Saudi Arabia this week – dubbed “Davos in the Desert” by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. He said he was attending in spite of the grave allegations against the Saudi rulers.

Surely the point here is the unseemly indulgence by Western governments of Saudi Arabia and its so-called “reforming” Crown Prince. It is remarkable how much credulity Washington, London, Paris, Ottawa and others are affording the Saudi despots who, most likely, have been caught redhanded in a barbarous murder.

Yet, when it comes to Russia and outlandish, unproven claims that the Kremlin carried out a bizarre poison-assassination plot, all these same Western governments abandon all reason and decorum to pile sanctions on Russia based on lurid, hollow speculation. The blatant hypocrisy demolishes any pretense of integrity or principle.

Here is another connection between the Skripal and Khashoggi affairs. The Saudis no doubt took note of the way Britain’s rulers have shown absolute disregard and contempt for international law in their de facto abduction of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. If the British can get away with that gross violation, then the Saudis probably thought that nobody would care too much if they disappeared Jamal Khashoggi.

Grotesquely, the way things are shaping up in terms of hypocritical lack of action by the Americans, British and others towards the Saudi despots, the latter might just get away with murder. Not so Russia. The Russians are not allowed to get away with even an absurd fantasy.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

Latest

US-China trade war heats up as surplus hits record $34 Billion (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 136.

Alex Christoforou

Published

on

According to a report by the AFP, China’s trade surplus with the United States ballooned to a record $34.1 billion in September, despite a raft of US tariffs, official data showed Friday, adding fuel to the fire of a worsening trade war.

Relations between the world’s two largest economies have soured sharply this year, with US President Donald Trump vowing on Thursday to inflict economic pain on China if it does not blink.
The two countries imposed new tariffs on a massive amount of each other’s goods mid-September, with the US targeting $200 billion in Chinese imports and Beijing firing back at $60 billion worth of US goods.

“China-US trade friction has caused trouble and pounded our foreign trade development,” customs spokesman Li Kuiwen told reporters Friday.

But China’s trade surplus with the US grew 10 percent in September from a record $31 billion in August, according to China’s customs administration. It was a 22 percent jump from the same month last year.

China’s exports to the US rose to $46.7 billion while imports slumped to $12.6 billion.

China’s overall trade — what it buys and sells with all countries including the US — logged a $31.7 billion surplus, as exports rose faster than imports.

Exports jumped 14.5 percent for September on-year, beating forecasts from analysts polled by Bloomberg News, while imports rose 14.3 percent on-year.

While the data showed China’s trade remained strong for the month, analysts forecast the trade war will start to hurt in coming months.

China’s export jump for the month suggests exporters were shipping goods early to beat the latest tariffs, said ANZ’s China economist Betty Wang, citing the bounce in electrical machinery exports, much of which faced the looming duties.

“We will watch for downside risks to China’s exports” in the fourth quarter, Wang said.

Analysts say a sharp depreciation of the yuan has also helped China weather the tariffs by making its exports cheaper.

“The big picture is the Chinese exports have so far held up well in the face of escalating trade tensions and cooling global growth, most likely thanks to the competitiveness boost provided by a weaker renminbi (yuan),” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics.

“With global growth likely to cool further in the coming quarters and US tariffs set to become more punishing, the recent resilience of exports is unlikely to be sustained,” he said.

According to Bloomberg US President Donald Trump’s new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement isn’t that different from the North American Free Trade Agreement that it replaced. But hidden in the bowels of the new trade deal is a clause, Article 32.10, that could have a far-reaching impact. The new agreement requires member states to get approval from the other members if they initiate trade negotiations with a so-called non-market economy. In practice, “non-market” almost certainly means China. If, for example, Canada begins trade talks with China, it has to show the full text of the proposed agreement to the U.S. and Mexico — and if either the U.S. or Mexico doesn’t like what it sees, it can unilaterally kick Canada out of the USMCA.

Although it seems unlikely that the clause would be invoked, it will almost certainly exert a chilling effect on Canada and Mexico’s trade relations with China. Forced to choose between a gargantuan economy across the Pacific and another one next door, both of the U.S.’s neighbors are almost certain to pick the latter.

This is just another part of Trump’s general trade waragainst China. It’s a good sign that Trump realizes that unilateral U.S. efforts alone won’t be enough to force China to make concessions on issues like currency valuation, intellectual-property protection and industrial subsidies. China’s export markets are much too diverse:

If Trump cuts the U.S. off from trade with China, the likeliest outcome is that China simply steps up its exports to other markets. That would bind the rest of the world more closely to China and weaken the global influence of the U.S. China’s economy would take a small but temporary hit, while the U.S. would see its position as the economic center of the world slip into memory.

Instead, to take on China, Trump needs a gang. And that gang has to be much bigger than just North America. But most countries in Europe and East Asia probably can’t be bullied into choosing between the U.S. and China. — their ties to the U.S. are not as strong as those of Mexico and Canada. Countries such as South Korea, Germany, India and Japan will need carrots as well as sticks if they’re going to join a U.S.-led united trade front against China.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the escalating trade war between the United States and China, and the record trade surplus that positions China with a bit more leverage than Trump anticipated.

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Follow The Duran Audio Podcast on Soundcloud.

Via Zerohedge Trump Threatens China With More Tariffs, Does Not Seek Economic “Depression”

US equity futures dipped in the red after President Trump threatened to impose a third round of tariffs on China and warned that Chinese meddling in U.S. politics was a “bigger problem” than Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

During the same interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes”, in which Trump threatened to impose sanctions against Saudi Arabia if the Saudis are found to have killed WaPo reported Khashoggi, and which sent Saudi stock plunging, Trump said he “might,” impose a new round of tariffs on China, adding that while he has “great chemistry” with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and noting that Xi “wants to negotiate”, he doesn’t “know that that’s necessarily going to continue.” Asked if American products have become more expensive due to tariffs on China, Trump said that “so far, that hasn’t turned out to be the case.”

“They can retaliate, but they can’t, they don’t have enough ammunition to retaliate,” Trump says, “We do $100 billion with them. They do $531 billion with us.”

Trump was also asked if he wants to push China’s economy into a depression to which the US president said “no” before comparing the country’s stock-market losses since the tariffs first launched to those in 1929, the start of the Great Depression in the U.S.

“I want them to negotiate a fair deal with us. I want them to open their markets like our markets are open,” Trump said in the interview that aired Sunday. So far, the U.S. has imposed three rounds of tariffs on Chinese imports totaling $250 billion, prompting China to retaliate against U.S. products. The president previously has threatened to hit virtually all Chinese imports with duties.

Asked about his relationship with Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin’s alleged efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, Trump quickly turned back to China. “They meddled,” he said of Russia, “but I think China meddled too.”

“I think China meddled also. And I think, frankly, China … is a bigger problem,” Trump said, as interviewer Lesley Stahl interrupted him for “diverting” from a discussion of Russia.

Shortly before an audacious speech by Mike Pence last weekend, in which the US vice president effectively declared a new cold war on Beijing (see “Russell Napier: Mike Pence Announces Cold War II”), Trump made similar accusations during a speech at the United Nations last month, which his aides substantiated by pointing to long-term Chinese influence campaigns and an advertising section in the Des Moines Register warning farmers about the potential effects of Trump’s tariffs.

Meanwhile, in a rare U.S. television appearance, China’s ambassador to the U.S. said Beijing has no choice but to respond to what he described as a trade war started by the U.S.

“We never wanted a trade war, but if somebody started a trade war against us, we have to respond and defend our own interests,” said China’s Ambassador Cui Tiankai.

Cui also dismissed as “groundless” the abovementioned suggestion by Vice President Mike Pence that China has orchestrated an effort to meddle in U.S. domestic affairs. Pence escalated the rhetoric in a speech Oct. 4, saying Beijing has created a “a whole-of-government approach” to sway American public opinion, including spies, tariffs, coercive measures and a propaganda campaign.

Pence’s comments were some of the most critical about China by a high-ranking U.S. official in recent memory. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo got a lecture when he visited Beijing days later, about U.S. actions that were termed “completely out of line.” The tough words followed months of increases tit-for-tat tariffs imposed by Washington and Beijing that have ballooned to cover hundreds of billions of dollars in bilateral trade.

During a recent interview with National Public Radio, Cui said the U.S. has “not sufficiently” dealt in good faith with the Chinese on trade matters, saying “the U.S. position keeps changing all the time so we don’t know exactly what the U.S. would want as priorities.”

Meanwhile, White House economic director Larry Kudlow said on “Fox News Sunday” that President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will “probably meet” at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires in late November. “There’s plans and discussions and agendas” being discussed, he said. So far, talks with China on trade have been “unsatisfactory,” Kudlow said. “We’ve made our asks” on allegations of intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers, he added. “We have to have reciprocity.”

Addressing the upcoming meeting, Cui said he was present at two previous meetings of Xi and Trump, and that top-level communication “played a key role, an irreplaceable role, in guiding the relationship forward.” Despite current tensions the two have a “good working relationship,” he said.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Duran on Patreon!
Continue Reading

JOIN OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Your donations make all the difference. Together we can expose fake news lies and deliver truth.

Amount to donate in USD$:

5 100

Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...
Advertisement

Advertisement

Quick Donate

The Duran
EURO
DONATE
Donate a quick 10 spot!
Advertisement
Advertisement

Advertisement

The Duran Newsletter

Trending