The leader of Syriza told parliament on Friday that he wished Greece “had become Argentina”.

Alexis Tsipras made the remarks when asking a parliamentary question during the prime minister’s question time about the proposed government sell off of Hellenic Postbank.

Antonis Samaras was not in the chamber for questions and his place was taken by Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras.

Addressing the finance minister, Tsipras said: “You say how “we didn’t become Argentina’. I wish that we had: Argentina went through huge difficulties and its citizens were able to stand with dignity.”

Condemning Stournaras’ recent assessment that Postbank was “unviable”, Tsipras described the proposed privatisation of Postbank as a “bank robbery” and said that if a similar plan was hatched in any other country, state prosecutors would intervene.

In reply, the finance minister said that he told the truth.

“We will do everything we can to make it viable. It is lagging far behind other banks. This is the truth,” he told Tsipras, adding that stress tests carried out in 2011 showed Postbank to be among the bottom of the performance table.

But Tsipras pointed out that while Postbank received 3bn euros from the state in last five years, the four banks main private banks were given over 150bn euros in state cash and guarantees.

Source: Athens News