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ATHENS – Alternate Minister for Administrative Reform Giorgos Katrougalos has denied press reports he told fired workers he could get them rehired if they forked over 12 percent of their pay.

He called a report in the newspaper To Vima outlining the alleged scheme “fraudulent” and “provocative” and got the backing of Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras.

The report said that Katrougalos had signed several contracts as a lawyer in 2014 which stipulated that he would receive a chunk of the sacked civil servants monthly salaries in the event that he secured their rehiring.

Tsipras said ahead of the Jan. 25 elections that SYRIZA won handily that he would rehire workers fired by previous governments on orders of international lenders.

In a news conference, Katrougalos called the report “unsubstantiated” and “slanderous.” He said that he left the law office in question in June 2014, after he was elected to the European Parliament, set up his own law office in July 2014 and stopped practicing law when he was sworn in as minister on January 27 of this year.

He said he would quit on the spot if the allegations are even partially true as the Premier’s office said the minister had signed contracts with some schoolguards before the European Parliament elections in 2014 but that the total fee he had sought would have been less than one month’s salary as an MEP and that if the school guards were rehired by law there would be no payment.

The To Vima story also noted the case of one employee of the Salamis Naval Base who had a salary dispute with the employer and had nothing to do with laid off civil servants.

Katrougalos called an open meeting with all sacked civil servants immediately after his appointment to tell them they would be reinstated and that no private meetings will be held. Katrougalos said the meeting was conducted with complete transparency and the presence of the media.

Source: The National Herald
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