Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Rich and powerful friends

EU Observer records the latest attempts (not) to bring commission president Barroso to book over his failure to disclose his week-long freebie for himself and his wife on board the luxury yacht owned by Greek billionaire Spiros Latsis.

In true gutless style, none of the leaders of the EU parliament political groups are prepared to support a UKIP call to bring Barroso before the parliament to explain his actions – or lack of them. Particularly, they are not anxious to concede that Nigel Farage, leader of the UKIP group in the EP, might have a point, and would prefer Barroso to go uncensured before they would let Farage gain any Brownie points.

Meanwhile, Spriros Latsis has mounted his own counter-offensive on behalf of his friend Barroso, commissioning leading libel lawyers Charles Russell to demand a retraction of the "serious and damaging allegations" in The Sunday Telegraph this week.

Why publication of details of the activities of the Latsis Group and its associated companies, which are already in the public domain on the web, should be "serious and damaging" and why the article has "the potential to cause very serious loss and damage" to Latsis interests – as the lawyers claim - remains a mystery.

However, the full weight of the law has been invoked, with veiled threats of claims for substantial damages. How lucky Barroso is to have such rich and powerful friends.

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