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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-06-08

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Gov't: State to cover interest gap in bond affair
  • [02] Bust of Greek-Jewish WWII hero Frizis unveiled

  • [01] Gov't: State to cover interest gap in bond affair

    The Greek state will make up the difference on interest on structured bonds issued by JP Morgan and purchased by state-run pension funds, including interest on a 280-million-euro structured bond at the centre of an ongoing political furor, two top ministers announced on Friday.

    Economy and Finance Minister George Alogoskoufis and Labour and Social Insurances Minister Vassilis Magginas also reiterated the government's position that not a single euro of funds' reserves will be lost in the repurchase deal.

    Both ministers also said that the interest concerns the holding period, in other words, the time during which the bond was in the possession of the funds, noting that the formula for payment of interest was the "stumbling block" in negotiations thus far between the funds and JP Morgan.

    They further said that relevant legislation would need to be passed for this arrangement, thereby allowing payment of interest on the basis of the interest rates linked with deposits of the Bank of Greece's "common capital", which is the capital deposits of commercial banks maintained at the central bank.

    "As it is known, regarding the repurchase of the 280-million-euro bond, a disagreement has surfaced between the funds and the international credit institution with respect to the interest corresponding to the period of holding of the bond by the funds," a joint statement by the two ministers stated.

    The announcement was echoed later by alternate government spokesman Evangelos Antonaros during a regular press briefing.

    Asked whether this constituted an "intervention" by the government, Antonaros replied that there was "no such issue", explaining that negotiations were being conducted between the funds and the credit institution, while the total sum of the invested capital would be returned by JP Morgan.

    Questioned over the almost daily barrage of criticism by the opposition over the past three months regarding the bonds affair, Antonaros said that "lies have short legs, and those who claimed that there would be immense losses (of funds' assets) are being belied, since it is being proven that they were misinforming the public."

    Asked whether Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis was avoiding questions on the entire issue, Antonaros said the premier has taken a clear position on the issue, and has announced that the government would do everything necessary so as to avoid a repetition of such phenomena.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of FinMin George Alogoskoufis.

    [02] Bust of Greek-Jewish WWII hero Frizis unveiled

    A bust of renowned WWII Greek Army Col. Mordechai Frizis, the first high-ranking Greek officer killed in action on the Albanian front (December 1940), was unveiled in Thessaloniki on Friday.

    The ceremony, held at the Jewish Heroes Square in the northern Greece port city, was attended by national and local government officials, diplomats, World Council of Hellenes Abroad (SAE) honorary president Andrew Athens and representatives of Thessaloniki's Jewish community.

    Frizis was one of the 12,898 Greek Jews who served in the Greek armed forces during the Second World War.

    "The unveiling of Col. Frizis' bust reflects his own heroism and the sacrifices of Greek Jews," Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) President Moses Constantines said during the ceremony, while the head of Thessaloniki's Jewish community, David Saltiel, referred to the Halkida-born war hero's decorated military career, from a Greek military expedition in the Ukraine, the Asia Minor campaign of 1919-1922 to the Albanian front in 1940

    His remains were buried at the Thessaloniki Jewish Cemetery in 2004 with full military honors in the presence of then Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos after being transferred to Greece from Albania, following an intervention by the Greek general army staff.

    Caption: Thessaloniki Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos (third from left) officially unveils a bust of Col. Mordechai Frizis in the city's Jewish Heroes Square on Friday, June 8, 2007. ANA-MPA/ MEGAPRESS/ B. GIRITZIOTIS.

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