Casino Visit Sparks Political Crisis in Greece
One of London’s leading hotels is at the center of a scandal that threatens to bring down the Greek government after the country’s defense minister racked up a huge bill during a two-night visit last month.
Panos Kammenos stayed at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Knightsbridge,where rooms typically cost about £600 a night. With his wife, Mr Kammenos managed to rack up a £2,642 ($3,440) bill between September 13 and 15.
The bill, which included gambling sessions on the roulette wheel and craps table, has been made public in Greece after Mr Kammenos last week said he had paid for the stay out of his own money. It later transpired that he submitted an expenses claim, effectively sending the bill to the Greek taxpayer.
The Queen hosted foreign heads of state and other dignitaries at the hotel the night before Prince William married Kate Middleton in 2011. A night in the Knightsbridge suite costs £2,580.
Mr Kammenos’s stay has caused a new constitutional crisis in Greece. He was urged to resign as defense minister for allegedly misleading MPs and taxpayers.
Greece has been crippled by enormous debts for almost a decade. Tough austerity measures imposed by Europe have left ordinary citizens struggling to make ends meet.