Ex-Greek deputy interior minister in wealth probe kills himself

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 04, 2012 6:27 PM
Ex-Greek deputy interior minister in wealth probe kills himself

ATHENS (Reuters) - A former Greek deputy interior minister being investigated by the financial police on suspicion of amassing ill-gotten wealth has committed suicide, police said on Thursday.

A family member found Leonidas Tzanis, a socialist politician, at his home in the central Greek town of Volos on Thursday evening, a police official said. He had hanged himself.

Tzanis served as deputy interior minister from 1999-2000 after being elected to parliament as a lawmaker for the socialist PASOK party in 1993. A lawyer, he was married with two children.

No further details were available on the circumstances surrounding his death.

Mired in a crippling debt crisis and battling to stave off bankruptcy, Greece has stepped up investigations into high-profile individuals to show it is serious about cracking down on corruption and reining in a political class widely viewed as having enriched itself at the expense of poorer Greeks.

Last month, the government announced the financial police was investigating 32 politicians on suspicion of having acquired ill-gotten wealth.

The country has seen a surge in the number of suicides, which has largely been blamed on the toll that austerity measures have taken on a nation angry and exhausted from repeated rounds of wage and pension cuts.

(Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas; Writing by Deepa Babington; Editing by Andrew Osborn)