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Athens News Agency: Daily News Bulletin in English, 02-07-19

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

July 19, 2002

CONTENTS

  • [01] Police say they have suspected leader of N17, Saunders' killer
  • [02] PM warns cabinet against undue haste in N17 case; ND welcomes progress
  • [03] Washington pleased over developments in counter-terrorism front
  • [04] FM Papandreou to attend General Affairs Council, receives U.S. envoy
  • [05] Fifth round of Greek-Turkish talks opens in Ankara
  • [06] New Democracy blasts government's tax overhaul
  • [07] Culture Minister Venizelos announces ministry's new organization
  • [08] Demonstration in memory of Genoa 2001 protestor's death
  • [09] Bankruptcies jump in June year on year
  • [10] Greek mutual funds' assets rise slightly in first two weeks of July
  • [11] Greek cabinet approves new real estate tax plan
  • [12] Development ministry unveils plan to ensure speedier payments
  • [13] Government slaps tax on real estate owned by offshore companies
  • [14] Shares as legacy or gift to be taxed
  • [15] Demand for blue chips leads Greek stocks higher
  • [16] The Athens 2004 Olympic Games will be a success, EU Commissioner says
  • [17] ATHOC president meets construction worker union's delegation
  • [18] Olympics organizers, GNTO sign co-operation pact
  • [19] Kounellis departs from ''Theban Cycle''
  • [20] Meeting between Clerides and Denktash cancelled
  • [21] Bandler's statements quite natural, Papapetrou says

  • [01] Police say they have suspected leader of N17, Saunders' killer

    Athens, 19/07/2002 (ANA)

    A 60-year-old man arrested on the island of Lipsi has admitted to being Alexandros Giotopoulos, the suspected leader of the terrorist organization November 17, the Greek police announced on Thursday.

    The authorities also revealed that they had secured confessions from another three suspects, the brothers Vassilis and Christo-doulos Xiros and 26-year-old Dionysis Georgiadis, of their participation in dozens of N17's crimes, including the hit against Brigadier Stephen Saunders.

    At a press conference on Thursday after-noon, Police Chief Fotis Nasiakos said that the name Michalis Economou, by which the fourth suspect had been known on Lipsi and in Athens, was false and that his identity card was fake and actually belonged to a woman. In addition, his fingerprints matched those found in the November 17 safe house in Patissia.

    In the early hours of the morning, the suspect admitted to the anti-terrorist squad in the presence of Nasiakos that he was called Alexandros Giotopoulos, son of Dimitris Giotopoulos and Zoi Metaxa, and had been born in Paris in 1944.

    Nasiakos said that the police had built up a profile of N17's leader from the evidence turned up by their investigation of a white-haired man aged 55-60 years, known by the code-name 'Lambros'. In the past 24 hours, further clues pointed to the mystery leader being Michalis Economou who had a summer house on the island of Lipsi, leading police to make the arrest.

    According to Nasiakos, police suspect the man of masterminding the group's hits and being the author of N17's proclamations.

    He then announced that police had brought in another two suspected N17 members for questioning, identifying them as Vassilis Tzortzatos and Theologos Psaradelis from the town of Chiliadou on Evia.

    At the close of the press conference, Nasiakos assured the families of N17's victims that the Greek police would do their duty and shed full light on every one of the group's murderous attacks.

    He also thanked the public, the media and the country's political leadership for their faith and support of the police's efforts, pledging that the investigations would continue without slackening until the phenomenon of terrorism had been wiped out.

    According to police announcements, Christodoulos Xiros has confessed to taking part in 28 terrorist strikes and robberies by the group, beginning with the attempted murder of US Sergeant Robert Judd in 1984.

    He was present at the robbery in which police officer Christos Matis was killed, the murder of 'Apogevmatini' newspaper publisher Nikos Momferatos and his driver Panagiotis Rousetis, a car bomb that fatally injured police officer Ioannis Georgakopoulos and injured 14 people in Kaisariani, the murder of industrialist Dimitris Angelopoulos in 1986 in Kolonaki, the murder of US military attache William Nordeen using a car bomb in 1988, the fatal injury of US Sergeant Steward Ronald through a car bomb in 1991, a rocket launched against a riot squad bus in 1991 that caused one death and seven injuries and the attempted murder of the finance minister Ioannis Paleokrassas with a rocket launcher that caused the death of passer-by Athanassios Exarlian.

    He was also involved in a number of at-tempted murders against Greek and US officials, bombs rigged in police vehicles, thefts of weapons and ammunition, the 1991 shootout between N17 and police in Sepolia and eight armed robberies, the last of which was against a Pangrati branch of the National Bank in December 1998.

    Vassilios Xiros has admitted his involvement in 15 N17 hits and robberies, including that against British military attache Stephen Saunders in June 2000, which helped bring the UK Metropolitan police and British expertise and resources onto the case.

    Other hits in which Vassilis Xiros has confessed being involved with include the murder of Greek-British shipowner Constantinos Peratikos in Piraeus in 1997 and the rocket launched at the German Ambassador's residence in Halandri in 1999.

    He has also been involved in 11 attacks against car dealerships, banks, McDonald's restaurants, PASOK party campaign offices and a car bomb, as well as three armed robberies targeting a bank and two security vans, the last being on April 2, 2002.

    Dionysis Georgiadis has confessed to being involved in setting a time-bomb that exploded outside an Alpha bank branch on Aharnon Street, an armed robbery against a National Bank branch in Halandri and to renting the N17 safe house on Damareos Street in Pangrati.

    A 60-year-old man arrested on the island of Lipsi has admitted to being Alexandros Giotopoulos, the suspected leader of the terrorist organization November 17, the Greek police announced on Thursday.

    The authorities also revealed that they had secured confessions from another three suspects, the brothers Vassilis and Christo-doulos Xiros and 26-year-old Dionysis Georgiadis, of their participation in dozens of N17's crimes, including the hit against Brigadier Stephen Saunders.

    At a press conference on Thursday after-noon, Police Chief Fotis Nasiakos said that the name Michalis Economou, by which the fourth suspect had been known on Lipsi and in Athens, was false and that his identity card was fake and actually belonged to a woman. In addition, his fingerprints matched those found in the November 17 safe house in Patissia.

    In the early hours of the morning, the suspect admitted to the anti-terrorist squad in the presence of Nasiakos that he was called Alexandros Giotopoulos, son of Dimitris Giotopoulos and Zoi Metaxa, and had been born in Paris in 1944.

    Nasiakos said that the police had built up a profile of N17's leader from the evidence turned up by their investigation of a white-haired man aged 55-60 years, known by the code-name 'Lambros'. In the past 24 hours, further clues pointed to the mystery leader being Michalis Economou who had a summer house on the island of Lipsi, leading police to make the arrest.

    According to Nasiakos, police suspect the man of masterminding the group's hits and being the author of N17's proclamations.

    He then announced that police had brought in another two suspected N17 members for questioning, identifying them as Vassilis Tzortzatos and Theologos Psaradelis from the town of Chiliadou on Evia.

    At the close of the press conference, Nasiakos assured the families of N17's victims that the Greek police would do their duty and shed full light on every one of the group's murderous attacks.

    He also thanked the public, the media and the country's political leadership for their faith and support of the police's efforts, pledging that the investigations would continue without slackening until the phenomenon of terrorism had been wiped out.

    According to police announcements, Christodoulos Xiros has confessed to taking part in 28 terrorist strikes and robberies by the group, beginning with the attempted murder of US Sergeant Robert Judd in 1984.

    He was present at the robbery in which police officer Christos Matis was killed, the murder of 'Apogevmatini' newspaper publisher Nikos Momferatos and his driver Panagiotis Rousetis, a car bomb that fatally injured police officer Ioannis Georgakopoulos and injured 14 people in Kaisariani, the murder of industrialist Dimitris Angelopoulos in 1986 in Kolonaki, the murder of US military attache William Nordeen using a car bomb in 1988, the fatal injury of US Sergeant Steward Ronald through a car bomb in 1991, a rocket launched against a riot squad bus in 1991 that caused one death and seven injuries and the attempted murder of the finance minister Ioannis Paleokrassas with a rocket launcher that caused the death of passer-by Athanassios Exarlian.

    He was also involved in a number of at-tempted murders against Greek and US officials, bombs rigged in police vehicles, thefts of weapons and ammunition, the 1991 shootout between N17 and police in Sepolia and eight armed robberies, the last of which was against a Pangrati branch of the National Bank in December 1998.

    Vassilios Xiros has admitted his involvement in 15 N17 hits and robberies, including that against British military attache Stephen Saunders in June 2000, which helped bring the UK Metropolitan police and British expertise and resources onto the case.

    Other hits in which Vassilis Xiros has confessed being involved with include the murder of Greek-British shipowner Constantinos Peratikos in Piraeus in 1997 and the rocket launched at the German Ambassador's residence in Halandri in 1999.

    He has also been involved in 11 attacks against car dealerships, banks, McDonald's restaurants, PASOK party campaign offices and a car bomb, as well as three armed robberies targeting a bank and two security vans, the last being on April 2, 2002.

    Dionysis Georgiadis has confessed to being involved in setting a time-bomb that exploded outside an Alpha bank branch on Aharnon Street, an armed robbery against a National Bank branch in Halandri and to renting the N17 safe house on Damareos Street in Pangrati.

    Three accused of participation in 17N to testify on Sunday: Three men accused of participation in the November 17 terrorist group appeared before an Athens investigator on Thursday and were given three days, until 4 p.m. on Sunday, to prepare their testimonies.

    The three were charged with a number of felonies, some of which are subject to the new law on combating terrorism and organized crime. All three admitted before the public prosecutor acts they have been charged with.

    Christodoulos Xiros is the brother of alleged terrorist Savvas Xiros, who has been undergoing treatment at the Athens Evangelismos Hospital after being injured in a botched terrorist attack in Piraeus on June 29.

    Christodoulos was charged with participation in a criminal organization, the making, pro-curement and possession of explosive materials, possession of weapons, intentional homicide on more than one count, causing an explosion on more than one count, robbery on more than one count, robbery resulting in a fatality, illegally carrying a weapon and use of a weapon.

    Vassilios Xiros is facing the same charges as his brother, with the exception of the one concerning robbery resulting in a fatality.

    Dionysis Georgiadis was charged with participation in a criminal organization, causing an explosion, robbery and the possession of explosive materials.

    Vassilios Xiros and Dionysis Georgiadis told the public prosecutor they do not want a defense attorney, while Christodoulos

    Xiros has not yet decided whether or not to appoint a defense attorney.

    The three were brought before the public prosecutor shortly after 3 p.m. after being driven to his office in three separate security police jeeps. The motorcade was accompanied by three police jeeps carrying heavily armed police, as well as by police motorcyclists.

    Shortly after the arrival of the three defendants, police guarding the entrance to the courthouses were ordered to keep pedestrians away from sidewalks around the buildings, while a police helicopter patrolled over the entire complex.

    Earlier, police had taken up positions in and around the courthouse complex, all cars were removed from inside the complex and a special tape was placed around the building housing the public prosecutor's office to prevent people from entering.

    The public prosecutor had been examining the file of proceedings prepared against the three defendants since early in the morning, while orders have been given for files drawn up on unsolved November 17 attacks to be withdrawn from archives.

    These files will be forwarded to the investigator assigned with the case, following the confessions made by the three defendants, to personalize charges.

    Judicial circles believe a plenum of appeals court judges might be convened, due to the seriousness of the case, to have a special judicial official conduct investigations.

    Giotopoulos denies involvement in N17: Professor Alexandros Giotopoulos, who was arrested on Wednesday on the Dodecannese island of Lipsi, denies any involvement in the November 17 terrorist group and wishes the appointment of a defense lawyer, judicial sources said on Thursday.

    Giotopoulos is suspected of being the ideological mastermind of the guerrilla group.

    Vassilis Tzortzatos and Theologos Psaradelis, who were arrested at Chiliadou in Evia, central Greece, will appear before the public prosecutor on Friday. According to sources, they are said to have confessed, during the preliminary interrogation stage, to participating in activities of the terrorist group.

    [02] PM warns cabinet against undue haste in N17 case; ND welcomes progress

    Athens, 19/07/2002 (ANA)

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis on Thursday warned the Greek cabinet against pressing the police too hard for new breakthroughs in their investigation of the terrorist group November 17. The premier stressed that there was a lot of material to go through and this would require ''time and systematic work,'' government spokesman Christos Protopapas said.

    Simitis stressed that pressure for too rapid progress could lead to mistakes.

    ''We must resist the model of a cop movie that unfolds within the space of two hours. We need to be serious and responsible in order to bring results and haste is a poor counselor,'' he stressed.

    The prime minister had been briefed on the latest breakthroughs and developments in the early hours of Thursday morning by Public Order Minister Michalis Chrysohoidis.

    The premier also informed the cabinet that the man detained as Michalis Economou had admitted to being Alexandros Giotopoulos and that there was evidence that showed him to be involved in the planning of terrorist attacks.

    Simitis also pledged that the investigation by the authorities would only cease once terrorism had been completely broken up.

    Commenting on the ongoing case, meanwhile, Protopapas stressed that the government wanted to provide answers to all the questions so as to leave no room for doubt among the public that terrorism had been fully exposed.

    He also reiterated earlier statements, expressing the government's satisfaction at the cooperation with foreign law enforcement agencies.

    The spokesman once again referred to the issue of how the media covered this issue, and said he had been in constant contact with the independent broadcasting regulator, the National Radio and Television Council (ERS), on this issue.

    ''We all know that television stations had succumbed to excesses that do not reflect well on those that carried them out,'' he stressed.

    Commenting on the latest developments, meanwhile, main opposition New Democracy spokesman Theodoros Roussopoulos expressed his party's satisfaction that the recent progress in the investigation and its support of the police force's efforts to rid Greece of terrorism.

    ''New Democracy has for decades fought this battle, both politically and through the laws, by voting for the anti-terrorism bill. The entire Greek people are now awaiting full disclosure in this very serious case,'' he said.

    Deputy public order minister: The terrorists will be delivered to justice: ''The terrorists, whoever they may be and wherever they may be, will be arrested and delivered into the hands of Greek justice,'' deputy public order minister Evangelos Malesios said Thursday.

    Speaking in parliament in reply to a question tabled by Athens B' district independent MP George Karatzaferis on the rumored questioning of military officers regarding the 'November 17' terrorist group, Malesios said the government was determined to finish with terrorism with firm and efficient steps, without haste and impatience.

    He said the authorities were not interest in the 'agent-mongering' and 'conspiracy-mongering', but rather ''we are interested in positive results, and there will be positive results''.

    Malesios said that the Greek Police were working systematically, methodically and in accordance with an integrated plan in its terrorism investigations and, in the context of this effort, was also collaborating with the services of other countries.

    He reminded that the Greek Police and public order ministry had signed a cooperation agreement with the corresponding services of other countries long before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the US. In fact, he recalled, two years ago Greece had signed a memorandum of cooperation with the US on combatting organized crime and terrorism.

    Malesios said it was groundless for anyone to claim that there was intervention on the part of the US services. ''We have no indication that there are problems in this cooperation, or that the US services are intervening in, disturbing, or trying to manipulate this cooperation,'' he said.

    In his question, Karatzaferis claimed that the public order ministry leadership was not informed of the facts of the terrorism investigation ''because the chief of police does not give account to you but rather to the American ambassador, who is physical chief''.

    KKE leader Papariga, Coalition of the Left on breakup of N17: Communist Party of Greece (KKE) Secretary General Aleka Papariga said on Thursday that her party ''will not allow the big problems of the Greek people to be forgotten'' in view of developments concerning the breaking up of the November 17 terrorist group.

    Speaking at a press conference in Arta, western Greece, which she is touring at the head of a KKE delegation, Papariga said: ''The KKE will not allow the big problems of the Greek people to be forgotten due to what is taking place these past few days concerning the November 17 organization. We repeat our party's position, as we had presented since 1975 when the specific organization first appeared, that the 'womb' of N17 are either foreign or domestic centers. Even if this is not the 'womb' but at the beginning it was created by people who through punishable acts contribute to the popular struggle, in the course it is certain that it was used by these centers.''

    She added: ''The links, however, which will prove this connection, will never be revealed because care was taken to have them broken up...''

    Concerning the breaking up of November 17, Papariga said that ''November 17 either ceased to be useful or is an excuse for the adoption of even stricter anti-terrorist laws aimed at putting peoples in plaster.''

    The Coalition of the Left and Progress (Synaspismos) party, in light of the announcements made on Thursday by the chief of the Greek Police concerning November 17, said in an announcement that ''the investigation for the tracking down and punishment of all those responsible for the criminal action of this organization, should proceed unhindered in depth with respect for the constitutional framework and without the intervention of irresponsible scenarios.''

    The Coalition of the Left and Progress stressed that Thursday's announcements by the chief of police ''contain many and impressive elements on the progress of investigations directed at breaking up the November 17 terrorist organization,'' adding that ''Greek society in its entirety demands the full resolving of the case, responsible briefing and the implementation of the rules of law.''

    [03] Washington pleased over developments in counter-terrorism front

    WASHINGTON (ANA - T. Ellis)

    State Department spokesman Richard Boucher on Thursday termed as premature any discussion around the possible extradition of November 17 terrorist group members, responsible for the killing of American citizens, to the United States.

    Boucher also expressed Washington's satisfaction over developments in the counter-terrorism front in Greece and ''praised'' the Greek authorities ''for all actions that they took against the November 17 terrorist group.''

    Asked to comment on the U.S. government's intentions concerning a possible request for the extradition of November 17 members, Boucher termed any such discussion as ''premature'', adding that ''we must see what the Greek authorities discover, who they will arrest, for what crimes could they be charged in Greece or in the U.S., and afterwards, with a friendly country such as Greece is, if there are any matters which concern trials we will work on these.''

    He added that if reports that Alexandros Giotopoulos, who was arrested on the Dodecannese island of Lipsi on Wednesday and who is suspected of being the leading figure of N17, were confirmed by Greek authorities, that would be ''a very important development.''

    [04] FM Papandreou to attend General Affairs Council, receives U.S. envoy

    Athens, 19/07/2002 (ANA)

    Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis said on Thursday the priorities of the European Union's current Danish presidency, as well as priorities on defense and security issues (military defense and security aspects) to be raised by the EU's Greek presidency will be discussed at the General Affairs Council to be convened in Brussels on Monday by the Danish presidency and attended by Foreign Minister George Papandreou and Alternate Foreign Minister Tassos Giannitsis.

    Beglitis, who was speaking at a press conference, said one of the main issues to be discussed in this framework are developments on the issue of the so-called European army, following the European Council in Seville.

    He added that Greece has the intention and will to continue negotiations with Turkey, beginning with the political agreement reached in principle in Seville.

    Another issue to be examined is the recent crisis in relations between Spain and Morocco regarding the island of Perejil. Beglitis expressed Greece's absolute solidarity to Spain and the Spanish government over the issue, saying it is an issue determining the common policy and position the EU and member-states should have.

    Beglitis also said Papandreou received U.S. Ambassador Thomas Miller, at the latter's request, in the morning. The two men discussed latest developments on the issue of terrorism. He reaffirmed the U.S. government's support for the Greek government's handling and expressed his satisfaction over positive developments on the issue.

    Another issue discussed are the Greek presidency's priorities on the European Union's joint defense and security issues. Papandreou briefed the U.S. ambassador on the Greek presidency's priorities and on developments on the issue of the so-called European army.

    [05] Fifth round of Greek-Turkish talks opens in Ankara

    Athens, 19/07/2002 (ANA)

    Foreign Ministry spokesman Panos Beglitis on Thursday said that the fifth round of confidence-building talks between Greece and Turkey will open in Ankara on Friday.

    The talks will be conducted between Foreign Ministry Secretary General Ambassador Alexandros Skopelitis and his Turkish counterpart Ambassador Ziyal.

    [06] New Democracy blasts government's tax overhaul

    Athens, 19/07/2002 (ANA)

    The main opposition New Democracy (ND) party said on Thursday that the government's tax overhaul had created confusion and uncertainty that would worsen the economic climate.

    ND's economic spokesman, George Alogoskoufis, said in a statement that tax reform should not be carried out in installments. The government has announced that its plan will be carried out in three stages.

    Alogoskoufis also said that a tax overhaul could not be accomplished independently of a policy of curbing primary public sector spending.

    ND believed that tax reform should lead to discernible simplification of the system, and guarantee its continuation, he added.

    [07] Culture Minister Venizelos announces ministry's new organization

    Athens, 19/07/2002 (ANA)

    Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos on Thursday announced the ministry's new organization, stating that it was ''the culture ministry's final organization and any changes made will only be of minor importance and following discussion by the competent trade union services.''

    He said that within the year 400 scientific personnel will be hired in the new antiquities services and in the ministry's new departments, while gradually a total of 3,500 people will be hired.

    According to the new organization, the Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities Services will reach 36 (from 25 at present), while Byzantine Antiquities Services will increase from 14 to 26.

    [08] Demonstration in memory of Genoa 2001 protestor's death

    Athens, 19/07/2002 (ANA)

    ''Genoa 2001'' initiative members staged on Thursday an event in memory of Carlo Giuliani, who was killed a year ago during a demonstration in Genoa against the ''G8 Summit''.

    ''We can create a different world where human needs will be placed above the profits of the greedy capitalist minority'', a ''Genoa 2001'' spokesman said.

    Demonstrating outside the Italian embassy with Italian songs, banners and protest signs, ''Genoa 2001'' said that ''the murderers of Carlo Giuliani may have stopped the young protestor, how-ever, with their action they assisted in the escalation of the movement which, following the Seattle events, is opposing capitalist globa-lization''.

    [09] Bankruptcies jump in June year on year

    Athens, 19/07/2002 (ANA)

    The number of petitions for bankruptcy increased in June to 122 against the same month a year earlier, up 205 percent, Teiresias SA, a market data firm, said in a monthly report released on Thursday.

    Declared bankruptcies rose to 74 in June, up 90 percent from the same month of 2001, said Teiresias, which belongs to the Union of Greek Banks.

    [10] Greek mutual funds' assets rise slightly in first two weeks of July

    Athens, 19/07/2002 (ANA)

    Greek mutual funds' assets totalled 23.082 billion euros on July 15, up 0.28 percent or by 64 million euros from the end of June, official figures showed on Thursday.

    A report by the Union of Institutional Investors showed a significant inflow of capital in domestic money market mutual funds in the first two weeks of July, raising their total assets by 3.03 percent to 8.915 billion euros.

    During the same period, domestic equity mutual funds' assets dropped 3.72 percent to 4.253 billion euros, while bond mutual funds' assets fell 0.48 percent to 5.031 billion euros and combined mutual funds' assets rose 0.14 percent to 4.482 billion euros.

    Equity mutual funds raised their market share by 0.87 percent in the first two weeks of July, money market funds increased their share by 1.03 percent, while bond mutual funds saw their market share easing by 0.08 percent and combined funds' market share rose 0.09 percent.

    [11] Greek cabinet approves new real estate tax plan

    Athens, 19/07/2002 (ANA)

    A Greek cabinet meeting on Thursday approved measures to ease the tax burden on taxpayers and companies, envisaging reducing heritage taxes and raising taxes on real estate assets owned by off-shore companies.

    Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said the cabinet also discussed progress in a privatization plan, offering tax incentives for the repatriation of capital and supporting employment in the Drama prefect after a decision by Softex to halt operations of its paper production unit in the region.

    Mr. Christodoulakis said a tax reform plan promoted by the government was aiming to offer a more fair and equal tax system on real estate in the country.

    [12] Development ministry unveils plan to ensure speedier payments

    Athens, 19/07/2002 (ANA)

    Greece's development ministry on Thursday unveiled a presidential decree aimed to harmonize national law with a directive approved both by the European Parliament and the European Council on payment of trade transactions.

    Deputy Development Minister Christos Theodorou, presenting the decree, said that the ministry hoped it would solve a problem facing mostly small- and medium-sized enterprises with delayed payments.

    The decree was drafted by a specially formed committee including ministry representatives after consulting with all interested trade unions.

    The new decree covers all trade transaction payments between companies, or between companies and the state, leading to delivery of goods and services, but not consumer transactions.

    Under the new rules, covering private contracts and unless otherwise stated, payment should be completed within 30 days from delivery of a bill.

    [13] Government slaps tax on real estate owned by offshore companies

    Athens, 19/07/2002 (ANA)

    The majority of offshore companies are to pay an annual 3.0 percent tax on real estate they own in Greece under the second phase of a tax reform plan, Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said on Thursday.

    Among firms to be exempted from the tax will be companies quoted on the Athens bourse, Greek SA companies with registered shares, and enterprises based in countries whose governments have forged pacts with the Greek government on combatting fraud and tax evasion, the minister said.

    Also introduced will be measures to check on monies to offshore firms under the government's investment law and the European Union's Third Community Support Framework package, he added.

    [14] Shares as legacy or gift to be taxed

    Athens, 19/07/2002 (ANA)

    Shares of quoted companies that are bequeathed or donated are to be taxed under the second phase of a government overhaul of the tax system that was endorsed by the cabinet on Thursday, the finance ministry said.

    The tax is to have a flat rate of 0.6 percent for close relatives and 1.2 percent for remaining family members, the ministry said in a statement.

    Stock in non-quoted firms will carry a 1.2 percent tax for close family members and 2.4 for other family, it added.

    [15] Demand for blue chips leads Greek stocks higher

    Athens, 19/07/2002 (ANA)

    Greek stocks continued moving higher on Thursday reflecting investors' renewed interest in blue chip stocks in the Athens Stock Exchange.

    The general index rose 0.81 percent to end at 2,153.83 points, with turnover a heavy 212.2 million euros, of which 135.4 million euros were transactions in OPAP's newly listed shares.

    The Retail and Telecommunications sectors suffered the heaviest percentage losses of the day (2.86 percent and 0.13 percent respectively), while the Metals, IT Solutions and IT sectors scored the biggest percentage gains (2.51 percent, 2.02 percent and 1.58 percent).

    The FTSE/ASE 20 index for blue chip and heavy traded stocks rose 0.95 percent, the FTSE/ASE MID 40 index ended 1.23 percent higher and the FTSE/ASE SmallCap 80 index rose 0.48 percent.

    Broadly, advancers led decliners by 222 to 82 with another 53 issues unchanged.

    Derivatives Market Close: Equity index futures drop: Equity index futures on the Athens Derivatives Exchange finished lower on Thursday, with contracts on the high capitalization index showing a discount of up to 1.0 percent, and on the mid-cap index of up to 1.5 percent, despite a rise in the underlying market.

    Turnover was 91.7 million euros.

    The underlying FTSE/ASE-20 index for heavily traded stocks and blue chips gained 0.95 percent; and the underlying FTSE/ASE-40 for medium capitalization stocks rose 1.23 percent.

    Bond Market Close: Prices down in moderate trade: Bond prices in the domestic secondary market on Thursday finished lower in moderate trade focusing on ten-year paper.

    The Greek benchmark 10-year bond showed a yield of 5.22 percent, and the spread over the corresponding German bund was 32 basis points.

    Turnover through the central bank's electronic system totalled 1.4 billion euros.

    Sell orders accounted for over half of trade.

    [16] The Athens 2004 Olympic Games will be a success, EU Commissioner says

    Athens, 19/07/2002 (ANA)

    ''The Athens 2004 Olympic Games will be a success both for Greece and the European Union,'' EU Commissioner Michel Barnier said on Thursday.

    Speaking to Greek correspondents in Brussels, Mr. Barnier, commissioner for regional policy in the EU, ahead of his visit to Greece on Monday to supervise progress in Olympic Games' infrastructure projects funded by the EU, said that ''the EU was supporting Greece in preparations for the Olympic Games'' and said that infrastructure projects currently underway in Greece (Athens metro extension, tram, suburban railway, Attica Road, etc) were ''very significant.''

    Mr. Barnier said that EU funding of these projects totalled 1.4 billion euros.

    He added that during his talks with Greek government officials he would urge for a more effective management of a Third Community Support Framework, stressing that the Greek EU presidency (January-June 2003) would be crucial for continuing cohesion policies ahead of a planned EU expansion.

    ''I want to help Greece to succeed and I believe that despite delays, progress has been made and the country was on the right track,'' he noted.

    Barnier will meet with Prime Minister Costas Simitis, Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis, Environment, Town Planning and Public Works Minister Mrs. Vasso Papandreou, the chairman of the Athens 2004 Organizing Committee Mrs. Yianna Angelopoulos and Greek deputies.

    The EU Commissioner expressed his surprise over what he called as ''dramatization and turning into politics a usual procedure that was blown out of proportions,'' over the content of his recent letter sent to the Greek government. Mr. Barnier said he was only performing his duties independently and in an unbiased way trying to seek transparency and adherence to EU legislation in the use of EU funds by a national government.

    He also stressed it was unacceptable to ''blame'' his aides over the letter, saying he was solely responsible in handling such issues.

    ''I do not grade countries and government, nor do I take part in confrontations. I supervise the terms of managing EU funds and report to the EU,'' he said.

    Mr. Barnier acknowledged, however, the difficulties facing a small country like Greece, with problems in modernizing administration, to absorb funds in such quantities and said it was natural to have delays in certain sectors.

    He expressed his optimism over the future and praised the Greek Economy Minister for a ''constructive cooperation'', and said that a Land Registry program ''started on a new base'' under Mrs. Vasso Papandreou.

    [17] ATHOC president meets construction worker union's delegation

    Athens, 19/07/2002 (ANA)

    Athens 2004 Organizing Committee (ATHOC) President Gianna Angelopoulos Daskalaki listened carefully on Thursday to serious complaints made by a construction worker union's delegation on extremely bad conditions prevailing, as they said, in Olympic Village workplaces. Four workers have so far been killed in labor accidents at the site.

    The trade unionists said sanitation and security conditions were unacceptable at the Olympic Village and called on her to contact the labor ministry to have the situation improved substantively and labor accidents stopped.

    Daskalaki promised to convey their demands to Deputy Labor Minister Lefteris Tziolas to enable necessary measures to be taken.

    [18] Olympics organizers, GNTO sign co-operation pact

    Athens, 19/07/2002 (ANA)

    Organizers of the Athens 2004 Olympics on Thursday signed a cooperation pact with the Greek National Tourism Organization on forging a joint promotion and marketing plan for the world event.

    The plan aims to redefine the identity of Greece as a Mediterranean venue, promote the country as the birthplace of the games, and publicize the event worldwide.

    The two groups will carry out a joint advertising campaign, hold tourism exhibitions, open information centers throughout Greece, and distribute literature on the event through the GNTO's 24 offices abroad.

    A working group will meet each month to discuss implementation of the joint plan.

    [19] Kounellis departs from ''Theban Cycle''

    Athens, 19/07/2002 (ANA)

    Distinguished sculptor Yiannis Kounellis on Thursday resigned from the production team of the ''Theban Cycle'', a series of ancient Greek tragedy performances scheduled to take place at the ancient theatre of Epidauros on July 19-20.

    ''Concerns and conflict are a very healthy reaction and woven into the affairs of art'', Culture Minister Evangelos Venizelos said, commenting on the departure of Kounellis, who created the sets for the performances.

    Four noted directors have joined forces to stage the plays that include ''Bacches'', ''Oedipus Rex,'' ''Seven in Thebes,'' and ''Antigone'' under the auspices of the Cultural Olympiad.

    Prime Minister Costas Simitis will attend the opening performance of the ''Theban Cycle'' play on Friday.

    [20] Meeting between Clerides and Denktash cancelled

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA)

    Thursday's meeting between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, in the context of the UN-led direct talks to solve the Cyprus problem, was cancelled at the request of the Turkish Cypriot side, government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said here on Thursday.

    Invited to comment on reports in the Turkish Cypriot press that Denktash suffered food poisoning, Papapetrou said he was briefed by the UN that Denktash was ill but did not know any details.

    He also noted that the UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto had informed President Clerides.

    Papapetrou ruled out the possibility that Denktash's sickness was a maneuver to avoid outlining his positions on the territorial issue, and said that the next meeting between the leaders of the two communities would take place on Tuesday morning.

    The spokesman wished the Turkish Cypriot leader to get well soon.

    President Clerides and Denktash launched UN-led direct talks in January this year, with a view to negotiate until a solution is found on the problem of Cyprus, divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. The meetings are held in the presence of de Soto.

    [21] Bandler's statements quite natural, Papapetrou says

    NICOSIA (CNA/ANA)

    Government spokesman Michalis Papapetrou said that Wednesday's statements by outgoing US Ambassador to Cyprus Donald Bandler were quite natural. Bandler had said that an agreement in Cyprus by definition was not going to be 100% pleasing for either side, noting that there would be difficulties.

    Papapetrou noted that Bandler represents a country ''that tries to mediate so that the dialogue will bear fruit, and does not condemn either side.''

    If this effort fails and the moment to attribute responsibilities comes, then surely vagueness to what is said will annoy me, Papapetrou said on Thursday.

    Invited to comment on the fact that the Security Council has diplomatically pointed its finger at the Turkish Cypriot side as the one responsible for the stalemate in efforts to solve the Cyprus problem, Papapetrou noted that the Security Council ''does not comprise little men from Mars'' and that the US as a member of the Council contributed to that decision.

    The spokesman also made it clear that ''the Greek Cypriot side for many years now has realized this truth and this reality and has made painful concessions since the '70s with a view to reach a settlement of the Cyprus problem.''

    He added that by negotiating a difficult problem, as the Cyprus question, no one can fully meet his goals and that reciprocal and painful concessions are required.

    ''We have made painful concessions, but these concessions have to be made within a specific political framework, determined by the international community and the Security Council resolutions,'' he added.

    He reiterated that concessions must be made on both sides to reach a settlement, adding that ''the Greek Cypriot side has made most of the possible concessions it could, while the Turkish Cypriot side must make substantive concessions to pave the way for a solution of the Cyprus problem. ''Papapetrou also recalled that the acceptance of a solution of a bizonal, bicommunal federation was a concession for the Greek Cypriot side and that this solution was demanded and pursued by the Turkish side for a long time, even before the Turkish invasion of the island.

    UN-led direct talks between Cyprus President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash have been going on since mid-January this year with a view to reach a comprehensive settlement of the protracted Cyprus problem.

    Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded


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