Greek Economic Minister resigns hours after wife quits following scandal | City & Business | Finance


Dimitri Papadimitriou, whose position involved promoting Greece abroad for investment projects, handed in his resignation to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Monday “for reasons of political sensitivity”, according to an economic minister.

His resignation was accepted by the prime minister, who then thanked him for his service.

Mr Papadimitriou’s wife, Rania Antonopoulou, stepped down from her position after it emerged she had claimed €1,000-a-month rent allowance, despite her and her husband being dubbed the “richest couple in government.”

No legal lines were crossed by claiming the housing allowance but many were left furious by the news – perhaps unsuprising given the country’s financial turmoil in recent years.

Papadimitriou and Antonopoulou shared the apartment in an upscale neighbourhood of Athens on which she claimed the rent allowance, from which she has offered to return some €23,000.

The average Greek monthly salary is £670 (€770), while a lawmaker brings in an average of £4,396 (€5,000) without benefits.

This latest resignation could lead to a minor reshuffle of the cabinet.

Opposition politicians hit out at the couple after their resignations were announced.

Stavros Theodorakis, leader of the centre-left Potami party, said: “We are not talking about a worker who suddenly took over a ministry. It’s a well-off family… which should have shown more care for citizens’ money particularly in a period that cuts are prevalent across the board.”

The housing benefit that Antonopoulou claimed was extended to members of Government whose main residence is outside of Athens. It was part of a bill that made up the third bailout which was approved by lawmakers in 2015.

Greece is currently on its third bailout since its economic crisis. This ends in August this year and Prime Minister Tsipras, whose term ends next year, is hoping to be re-elected.

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