SHOCKING REPORT – Swiss paper justifies report by Olympia.gr against brother of Greek PM

An investigative report by Olympia.gr, featured on this blog for the past two months exposing the “suspicious” dealings of the I4cense institute “www.i4cense.org” –and the involvement of the brother of the Greek prime minister ‘Andreas Papandreou’ in this institute- has “somehow” gone unnoticed by the Greek mainstream media, but today it made headlines in the Swiss daily “LaLiberte”  The article entitled “Greek Salad” talks about a family business, its location and features a grand photo, of none other, than Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou.
The extensive report basically justifies the information already published on the Olympia.gr blog and references are made to main opposition MP Panos Kammenos (who outwardly accused the Greek prime minister several months ago of acting as a ‘broker’ for foreign interests on Greek CDS contracts– click here to read this story).
Is it just me, or is there something really smelly going on here… draw your own conclusions…
The following is a translation of the article…
Keep in mind that a direct translation cannot be made.
GREEK SALAD AND LARGE
Lake Geneva MORGES – Take an institute under the Greek flag, which claims to work for “energy security and environmental protection; place it on the sheltered shores of blue Lake Geneva; put Andreas Papandreou, as its head man, who is none other than the brother of the Greek Prime Minister; add a touch of embezzlement, a pinch of alleged conflicts of interest between the two brothers and the salad is ready: I4cense association, based in Morges, has shaken the political world in Greece and the blogosphere.
The (news about this) institute has shaken the Greek political world and (especially) the blogosphere, because there are strong suspicions of embezzlement and conflicts of interests involved. In addition, it – The Institute for climate and energy security ‘I4cense’- involves (family members) of the (Greek) prime minister.  Panos Kammenos (check ref. at bottom), member of the (main opposition) New Democracy party, was the first to sound the alarm (when he accused the Greek prime minister of acting as a broker in Greek CDS contracts): “The institute has received funding from the EU, the Hellenic Republic as well as Siemens (note: the German company is also in the heart of a corruption scandal with Greek officials).
Opaque structure
According to the Commercial Registry of Vaud (in Switzerland), the institute aims to “promote and encourage the idea that energy security and environmental protection are two mutual and complementary concepts.” Noble intentions, notes the article, but then asks what is really behind this institute?

For more information (so you can get a better understanding of what is going on), you have to go in Morges, at 1A Vine Street, (or) the law firm H & B Law (which) serves as the headquarters I4cense.

(Lawyer) Marc Häsler confirms that, under Swiss law, the Institute for climate and energy security is an association. “Everything is managed from London and Athens,” he says, (via a mailbox).

More troubling, says the article, is the fact that only two people are on the steering committee of this institute, Andreas Papandreou – brother of the Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou – and his wife Marianthi Alexiou. A couple who has never visited the headquarters of the institute in Switzerland.

The (institute’s) domain name (www.i4cense.org), is housed at the University of Athens by Andreas Papandreou. Its list of activities include several events since its founding in 2008.

(One of those events, according to the article in the Swiss daily was) the organization of a (particular) Forum of (foreign) investors working on the “green” development (or Eco-Development) of the Mediterranean (in) 2010.

This event (was held) in conjunction with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and under the auspices of the Greek Prime Minister. Was there enough (concluded at the above event) to cause some conflicts of interest between the brothers Papandreou, (noone knows…).

I4cense is a ”think tank “(which is well) known in Greece and some of our experts were invited to speak at their conferences,” says Sabine Parisse, Deputy Division Chief of the Press Service of the EIB. Who did not know the precise legal nature of this structure. She said (she was) even surprised to learn of the existence of the institute’s headquarters in Switzerland, as well as (the so-called) charges of embezzlement.

An academic honesty
“The EIB did not contribute financially to the organization of the (above mentioned) forum in 2010,” insists Sabine Parisse. “The only relationship between the bank and representatives of I4cense were to participate in meetings where all stakeholders were present for the establishment of the forum.” Clearly, the I4cense institute has not been used for the organization (notes the article in the Swiss daily… and indeed this causes an alarm of concern and needs to be be looked into).

C & C International was responsible for logistics (adds the article). Office for the Coordination of events of the EIB, the charges against the institute (are indeed a) surprise:

“Andreas Papandreou is a renowned academic, honest and serious.” Opinion shared by Achilles Paparsenos, head of the Greek Press Office in Geneva, “Mr. Papandreou is a respected environmental economist“. Achilles Paparsenos attests to the seriousness of I4cense”.

The links between the institute and Greece are nothing new, and the website (displays) a list of the Scientific Council which contain people like Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University.

The Financial Times are among the sponsors included.

Mr. Paparsenos says the institute has not received a penny from the Greek Government. He also recalled that (the institute) intends (for all of its dealings) to be (upfront and) transparent.

He (told the Swiss paper that he) made the fight against corruption, gangrene of the national economy, and the crisis factor its workhorse.

(Nonetheless…) Transparency International noted in March that corruption cases increased from 13.4% in 2009 to 10.4% in 2010.

Stifled business


Still, this new case (adds the article) does not surprise Greeks.

Although it is stifled by the (PASOK) Socialist government.

“This is not surprising. The media is in the hands of groups who have no interest in offending the government, “noted one journalist. “Only small (less popular) radio and television channels are talking about it.”

Meanwhile, a student studying his doctorate made the observation that “all politicians and Greek businessmen have their money in Switzerland.” (hello… like we didn’t know!)

The (Greek) government has yet to address these outstanding issues.

A journalist from (Greece’s National Television Channel) ERT notes that the Prime Minister (George Papandreou), a member of PASOK (Socialist Party), will explain this framework (meaning he needs to address this issue): “What I4cense amounts (have been) received from the Greek state?

(The question remains…  Why is it possible to subsidize a non-Greek and (non-governmental organisation) NGO based in Switzerland? “

Ref:  The gist of the allegations rests on the charge by Kammenos, that the Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and members of his team, presided over the sale of 1.3 billion dollars worth of credit default swap contracts (CDS on Greek sovereign debt) on or around December of 2009, shortly after coming to power. The 1.3 billion dollars worth of insurance protecting against a Greek default was bought during the spring and summer of the same year, by the Hellenic Postbank, a public banking arm of the Greek government. It is unclear what the intentions of the Postbank were when it purchased the credit protection. Clearly, the previous government that was in power at the time (New Democracy or N.D.) understood that Greece headed towards a fiscal crisis, otherwise they would not have purchased the insurance. However, we do not know if the move was initially made with the intention of reaping private profit, or simply as a hedge by the government itself against it’s own default.

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