Reports out of Athens are that the left wing of the ruling party tried to execute a seizure of the Bank of Greece’s reserves, a deal with Russia, and a return to the drachma.
Some members of Greece’s leftist government wanted to raid central bank reserves and hack taxpayer accounts to prepare a return to the drachma, according to reports on Sunday that highlighted the chaos in the ruling Syriza party.Financial Times adds in re Russia (quoted from Forbes):
It is not clear how seriously the plans, attributed to former Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis and former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, were considered by the government and both ministers were sacked earlier this month. However the reports have been seized on by opposition parties who have demanded an explanation. […]
In an interview with Sunday’s edition of the RealNews daily, Panagiotis Lafazanis, the hardline former energy minister who lost his job after rebelling over the bailout plans, said he had urged the government to tap the reserves of the Bank of Greece in defiance of the European Central Bank.
Lafazanis, leader of a hardline faction in the ruling Syriza party that has argued for a return to the drachma, said the move would have allowed pensions and public sector wages to be paid if Greece were forced out of the euro.
“The main reason for that was for the Greek economy and Greek people to survive, which is the utmost duty every government has under the constitution,” he said.
Mr Lafazanis visited Moscow three times as Mr Tsipras’s envoy after Syriza came to power in January. In return for signing up to a new gas pipeline project, he hoped for at least €5bn in prepayments of gas transit fees, according to people briefed on the initiative. But the Russians rejected the deal the week before the EU summit.Forbes goes on to note that it is questionable at best that the pipeline will ever be built, anyway.
“It was all a fantasy,” said a senior Greek banker. “The Left Platform’s dreams of free gas and a Russian-backed drachma have crumbled away.”
I’m glad the Greeks are back — they’re so entertaining.