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Karatzeferis under scrutiny for kickbacks

LAOS party president Giorgos Karatzaferis is faced with three felonies, according to preliminary research findings of Chartered Accountants on behalf of the competent committee of parliament.

In the foreign accounts of the president of LAOS auditors have already found around 6 million euros, allegedly from kickbacks from arms programs, while other strange routes the money took are also being investigated. Auditors are also searching other assets, which are estimated at 20 million euros.

He is likely to face other felony charges if it is confirmed that money laundering was involved, since for consecutive years he submitted untrue asset statements in which he failed to register the offshore company in which he appears as a beneficiary.

As is clear from audits of Mr Karatzaferi's assets declarations apparently show involvement in an offshore company called Catalina Ltd, that is shown as receiving remittances totaling 1.65 million euros at two different periods from a person appearring as an intermediary in order to lock the agreement for the purchase of Super Puma helicopters. It appears from his asset statement otendered when he was as ND deputy in 1994 for the financial year 1993, he participated in Catalina Ltd.

Twebty years ago, Mr Karatzaferis lodged an asset statement for the first time as the newly elected MP with ND. Entry number "A1.3" on "participation in any profit-making enterprise," citing City News SA and Catilina Ltd (just as indicated).

According to the report, the period of the subsequent statements after 2007, presented by George Karatzaferis, as president of LAOS, traces of Catalina Ltd disappeared.

The only corporate participation, in Mr Karatzaferi's statement is his wife, which appears as "a partner in a service related Ltd firm" starting in 2000 with 17.608 euros as capital contributed to. Indeed, the company appears in the declaration of 2011, as being passed with parental benefit to his son, while in 2012 the statement is not mentioned.

It is worth noting that in 1994, when Mr. Karatzaferis placed Catalina Ltd on his statement, itwas not an illegal political hold offshore company. According to the legal framework, passed in 2010, however, the involvement of politicians in offshore companies results in losing office and facing prison sentences of 2-5 years and fines from 10,000 to 500,000 euros, disenfranchisement and confiscation of their shareholding.

Mr. Karatzaferis is being investigated as to whether he has included in statements the two offshore companies. Two firms have come under auditor scrutiny Catalina International LTD, which in 2009 was renamed Sunlight Delight, and Homeric TCI.

Results are expected no later than next Wednesday, as the Commission will then decide to refer or not refer the case to the competent prosecutor.