Dijsselbloem ‘mail bomb target’, says spokesman

Former Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem. The Dutch politician is seen as the frontrunner to succeed Christine Lagarde, but he [EU2016NL/ Flickr]

Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem was targeted by a mail bomb which had been “intercepted”, his spokesman said yesterday (21 March), a day after Greek police found eight “suspect” packages addressed to European officials.

“I can confirm that Minister Dijsselbloem was the target of a mail bomb,” Coen Gelinck told AFP.

“It was however intercepted,” said Gelinck, declining to give any further information or to confirm whether it was one of the packages found in Athens.

Police in the Greek capital found eight packages Monday at the postal service’s main sorting centre north of Athens. The news came after a domestic militant group last week sent mail bombs to the IMF and the German finance ministry.

Monday’s packages were intended for “officials at European countries”, Greek police said.

According to some reports German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has also been the target of the parcel bombs mailed from Greece.

A police source later said the packages were intended for officials at the Eurogroup and other global institutions.

Last week, a mail bomb sent to the International Monetary Fund’s offices in Paris exploded and injured a secretary. A second bomb sent to the German finance ministry was intercepted by security.

The investigation so far suggests that both the IMF and the German finance ministry bombs were sent by a far-left group called the Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei, which police thought they had mostly dismantled in 2011.

A source close to the investigation in Paris last week said the mail bomb there consisted of two tubes of black powder and a makeshift electric trigger.

A second Greek police source on Monday said the eight additional packages had been scanned and “found to contain a similar mechanism.”

To make the packages more likely to be opened, the perpetrators listed Greek economic officials and academics as the senders.

Many Greeks blame Germany and the IMF for imposing years of public-sector cuts and policy overhauls in exchange for bailout packages needed to prop up the debt-ridden country.

Dijsselbloem has had several runs-in with Greek ministers during tough austerity talks in the past, most notably with Greece’s firebrand left-wing former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis.

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