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Labor Action, 20 June 1949


M. Stevens


Truman Doctrine Dollars to Greece Flow
into Coffers of Greek Tycoon


From Labor Action, Vol. 13 No. 25, 20 June 1949, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


When one reads of the poverty and wretchedness of the Greek people, it is difficult to believe that fabulously wealthy men also live in that country. One of the outstanding tycoons of Greece is Prodromos Athnassiades, better known by his nickname, “Bodossakis.” Bodossakis has his finger in about every industry in Greece.

A great deal of the money being supplied by the United States government to Greece at the present time is going into Bodossakis coffers. According to the magazine, Business Week (April 30), he is now planning to build an oil refinery with Marshall Plan money.

Bodossakis and his classmates now have a problem. The Moscow-controlled guerrilla movement in Greece is no longer a real threat to the present Greek government. If the guerrilla movement Is wiped out completely, American financial aid will not pour in as extensively and as freely as it does now. This possibility does not make Bodossakis very happy.

One can be assured, however, that he and his friends will do everything (and we mean everything) they can to keep the easy money rolling in as long as possible. Even after the Truman money is cut down, Bodossakis will make millions, but at a much slower pace. Bodossakis and his ilk control and finance politicians of five or six of the major parties. The laws they make are in his favor. For example, he and the other industrialists pay NO income tax on the huge profits of their corporations or on their personal incomes.

Started as Apprentice Merchant of Death

Born in Asia Minor, about 60 years ago, Bodossakis very early in life became an agent for the fabulous arms merchant, Sir Basil Zaharoff, and during World War I supplied arms and munitions to Turkey. During the Greek-Turkish war in 1922–23 he sold arms and munitions to both sides.

When the Young Turks took power in Turkey, they forced more than one million Greeks in Turkey back to Greece. Bodossakis was among those returned.

In Greece, he first engaged in Stock Exchange transactions. Later he founded the Helios [Sun] Corporation for importing wheat from Russia, and then purchased the Myrsiniotis Munitions Works. By 1933 he had sewn up the Greek textile industry. Today he has three textile mills operating under the name of the Greek Textile Company. During the Spanish Civil War he sold arms and munitions to both Franco and the Loyalists.

It was commonly known in Greece, in all political circles, that Bodossakis was handling the financial affairs of King George of Greece, and that the king had a direct and financial interest in all of Bodossakis’ enterprises. And here, perhaps, lies part of the story for Bodossakis’ wealth and power.

An oft-repeated story of the Spanish Civil War period, by persons who claim to have been accomplices and by marine-insurance representatives, is that many of Bodossakis’ ships supposedly loaded with arms bound for Spain were actually carrying rocks. These ships were sunk or blown up on the way to Spain for the purpose of collecting insurance claims. We do not know the story-tellers well enough to vouch for this story. Bodossakis’ life before and after these events, however, makes him suspect.

Bodossakis was part of the clique that put into power the Greek fascist regime of Metaxas. By the time the Spanish Civil War was over, Bodossakis was busy making profits in arms and munitions to the Greek army for its war with Italy, and then more profits in arms to the British forces in the Middle East.

Octopus of Greek Industry

When Germany invaded Greece, Bodossakis came to New York where he openly told newspaper reporters that he was here to look after the personal interests of King George. While in New York he stayed at the Waldorf-Astoria where he was in daily touch with the wealthy shipowners of Greece who had also come to the United States and were busy contacting politicians in Washington with their suggestions for post-war Greece.

Today Bodossakis has in Greece, in addition to the holding mentioned earlier in this article: the Ethel Rubber Company, making clothing and rubber shoes; Lipasmata Company, the chemical fertilizer monopoly; Vas-siliades Company, shipyards; Greek Powder & Cartridge Company, largest powder plant and biggest machine shop in the Middle East; Greek Wine and Spirits Company, with 33 wineries.

He is also a director of the biggest bank in Greece. He owns pyrite and lignite mines. His glass factory produces 99 per cent of the country’s glass. He also has his finger in many smaller companies which he does not control completely. (But give him and the king a little time – with American support they should not have too much difficulty remedying this latter defect.)

Bodossakis’ American agent and advisor is none other than Buell Maben, the former UNRRA chief for Greece. Maben has a lot of confidence in Bodossakis’ ability to pull through. Maben is quoted, in the issue of Business Week mentioned earlier, as saying: “Bodossakis has lost more millions In the past quarter of a century than I have years. But he’s got all of them back.”

That’s where the millions of Truman Doctrine dollars are going.

It is because of Bodossakis and his kind in Greece that the people of that country are poverty-stricken and so desperate that they continue to fight even under the leadership of the same Communist Party which has betrayed them so often.

When the workers and peasants of Greece develop their own independent socialist movement, they will wipe away Bodossakis and the system that breeds his kind.

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