Shortly after setting foot in Australia, Greek Deputy Minister Antonis Diamataris has been forced to step down from his post after confirming that he never received a degree for Columbia University studies as listed on his resume.
He tendered his resignation yesterday, soon after arriving for his eight-day visit as part of his duties as minister for Greeks of the Diaspora that was to officially start today and end on 13 December.
Prior to his departure from Athens Airport, there was no indication of what would follow in the 21-hour flight, and Mr Diamataris had tweeted his joy regarding his trip to Sydney to “meet our brothers and listen to their views”.
The mood had changed significantly by the time of his arrival. Mr Diamataris issued a statement: “In the past few days, I have received personal attacks which are disorienting and aim to undermine the government and the prime minister, which I love and respect, as well as to undermine my work. For this reason, I submitted to Kyriakos Mitsotakis, with great pain, my resignation.”
Greek Consulate General to Melbourne, Dimitris Michalopoulos, confirmed to Neos Kosmos that Mr Diamataris’ resignation had been accepted by Mr Mitsotakis. The former deputy minister will be staying in Australia privately before flying back to Greece.
The resignation came after the New York-based publisher had come under heavy criticism that he had never graduated from an MBA course listed on his CV on the ministry website. After he was exposed to the media for his fake CV, Mr Diamataris said that he had attended lectures but “financial reasons” had prevented him from receiving the degree, even though he had bought his newspaper, The National Herald, that same year.
Government spokesman Stelios Petsas had supported Mr Diamataris two days ago by stating that the “MBA from Columbia was a misunderstanding.” and that “the issue was over for the government” that had accepted Mr Diamataris explanations.
Further expositions, however, brought to light that he had also declared a fake year of birth (1959, instead of 1950), and the Ministry even removed his studies at Queen’s College from the CV on the website.
Other media reports accused Mr Diamataris of violating the Greek Constitution by having business interests while holding a ministerial post. He was still active as the Chief Executive Officer of The National Herald and managed real estate in New York via the company Diamataris Properties Ltd.
On Wednesday, it was revealed that he had appointed Tasos Philippakos, the former manager of a Greek defence company as his ‘advisor’, a controversial appointment bearing in mind that Mr Philippakos was being investigated by Greek Justice for having cost losses of 1 billion dollars to the Greek state over a 10-year period.
Mr Diamataris issued a statement: “In the past few days, I have received personal attacks which are disorienting and aim to undermine the government and the prime minister, which I love and respect, as well as to undermine my work. For this reason, I submitted to Kyriakos Mitsotakis, with great pain, my resignation,” he said in a statement.