25 Feb 2012

Greek MPs sending money abroad

7:38 am on 25 February 2012

The government in Greece has threatened to name and shame MPs accused of funnelling large sums of money abroad.

Some 65 billion euros ($US86 billion) has been withdrawn from banks since the onset of the debt crisis in 2009. Most of it is held at home or in safety deposit boxes.

However, 16 billion euros has been sent abroad, much of it to Britain.

The withdrawals have exacerbated a liquidity crisis that has left some banks dependent on central bank funding.

The head of a judicial agency said this week that a member of parliament sent 1 million euros ($US1.33 million) to a Swiss bank last year.

Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos did not identify the deputy, whose bank transfer did not necessarily break the law. But that was not the point, he told parliament on Friday.

"There is indeed a difference between what is legal and what is proper," he said. "There are politicians, or relatives of politicians, who each transferred more than 100,000 euros abroad in 2011."

"These names will be ascertained within the day, and will be given to the Speaker. They will be called upon to explain."

The transfers were made despite the government assuring Greeks their savings are safe.