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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Learning from the Greek debt crisis

Economist Tobias Blattner talks to CNN's Max Foster about the Greek debt crisis and what other EU leaders want to see.


Learning from Greek debt crisis

Economist Tobias Blattner talks to CNN's Max Foster about the Greek debt crisis and what other EU leaders want to see.


Greece, Troika Talks Progress, Hopes For Deal By EU Summit

The Economist

Greece, Troika Talks Progress, Hopes For Deal By EU Summit
Wall Street Journal
By Alkman Granitsas. ATHENS--Talks between Greece and a visiting troika of international inspectors moved ahead Thursday, a senior finance ministry official said, adding that a deal on austerity measures Greece must take could be reached in time for a ...
More Germans want Greece in euro zone than out, poll showsReuters
Greece and Germany Angela's AthensThe Economist
Why Angela Merkel may not be able to keep Greece in
Washington Post (blog) -Huffington Post
all 3,433 news articles »


Greece's Largest Firm Flees Crisis-Torn Home for UK

Greece's Largest Firm Flees Crisis-Torn Home for UK
Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling SA, (EEEK) the world's second-largest Coca-Cola bottler, plans to move its main stock listing from Athens to London as Greece's largest company by market value flees the epicenter of Europe's debt crisis. The move will make ...
Greece's biggest company flees, bottler CCH to SwitzerlandReuters
Ouch: Greece's biggest company, Coca-Cola Hellenic, moves outLos Angeles Times
Coca-Cola bottler quits GreeceCNN
Business Insider
all 104 news articles »


UPDATE 1-Greece's biggest firm leaves, jobless rate soars

BBC News

UPDATE 1-Greece's biggest firm leaves, jobless rate soars
German economic experts urge new debt restructuring. * Greece's biggest company CCH quits for Switzerland. * IMF backs giving Athens two more years to meet debt target. By Harry Papachristou and Lefteris Papadimas. ATHENS, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Greece ...
Greece Unemployment Rises Above 25 PercentHuffington Post
Greece's Unemployment Reaches More Than Quarter of WorkforceBusinessweek
Greece unemployment hits a record 25% in JulyBBC News
Bradenton Herald -GlobalPost
all 322 news articles »


Elena Panaritis: Why Europe Is Failing to Prevent the Spread of the Euro Crisis

Europe's politicians have lost sight of the real problem -- the structural problems stemming from high administrative burdens and the unpredictability of tax systems that ultimately result in too-high production costs, which in turn stifle creation and restrain innovation.


Not the Greek polls again…

Not the Greek polls again…
ForexLive (blog)
The Greek elections were the worst. EUR/USD was moving 25 pips on every poll. Hopefully they can hold the government together for a few more months but with numbers like these Syriza will be doing what it can to force an election. Of course, election ...

and more »


Greek bailout woes back to haunt leaders

Greek bailout woes back to haunt leaders
Financial Times
Once again, the world's top economic policy makers are grappling with Greece's troubled €174bn bailout. Their task is drearily familiar: it is the third time in 18 months it has required an overhaul and the issues are almost identical. Once again, over ...

and more »


Greek Journalist Tweets Harrowing Story Of Getting Beat Up By The Golden Dawn


Greek Journalist Tweets Harrowing Story Of Getting Beat Up By The Golden Dawn
Business Insider
Greek journalist @manolis has just sent out a flurry of tweets about getting beaten up by the Golden Dawn. They're in Greek, but @amaenad has translated them all. The most disturbing part is the apparent lack of interest by cops in proximity.
Greek police torture anti-fascist protestersWorld Socialist Web Site
Greek police 'torture' anti-fascist protestersAvaaz Daily Briefing
Greek nationality not a condition for nursery school admission, government saysKathimerini
Greek Reporter -Queens Tribune -Boing Boing
all 22 news articles »


Greek jobless rate hits record 1 in 4

Greece’s unemployment rate hit a new record in July with one in four now out of work, equalling the rate in Spain, as a crippling recession and austerity measures continue to take a toll on the labour market.


Schäuble and Lagarde clash over austerity


Schäuble and Lagarde clash over austerity
Financial Times
By Claire Jones in Tokyo and Peter Spiegel in Brussels High-level splits over the handling of the eurozone crisis burst into the open on Thursday when Germany's finance minister rebuked the head of the International Monetary Fund after she warned that ...
Spain resists pressure for bailout as IMF calls for firm actionThe Guardian
In Greece, 'Hello Pragmatism, Goodbye Austerity'Bloomberg
Double trouble after Spain rating cutReuters
Wall Street Journal -CNN -Fox Business
all 622 news articles »


Spain resists pressure for bailout as IMF calls for firm action

IMF chief Christine Lagarde says only with greater co-operation and courage can governments hope to prevent repeat of crisis

Spain defied renewed pressure to accept an international bailout on Thursday, a stance that could last for several more weeks or even months despite the humiliation of having its credit rating cut to near junk status.

As the head of the International Monetary Fund called on governments to co-operate to heal a fractured global economy, credit rating agency Standard and Poor's said recession was limiting Spain's policy options and any delay in seeking a rescue risked a further downgrade. Moody's said it may soon follow suit.

Prime minister Mariano Rajoy, however, struck a defiant tone when he said that tough labour reforms and the rebuilding of its tarnished banking sector meant the IMF's dire forecast for Spain's economy would not be realised.

"If we follow that strategy … we'll see that the reality turns out to be better than the forecasts," he said.

Rajoy's position was strengthened as Spain's key 10-year bond yield remained unchanged on Thursday despite the S&P move. He is thought to want to wait at least until after regional elections on 21 October to ask for aid and even later if the European Central Bank's bond buying keeps borrowing costs down.

He is supported by the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, who does not want to explain another bailout to her voters.

Speaking at its annual meeting in Tokyo, IMF chief Christine Lagarde warned that only with greater co-operation and courage could governments hope to prevent a repeat of the financial crisis.

After banking regulators told her some parts of the financial system were as unsafe as before the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008, she said policymakers needed to take immediate action to resolve issues hanging over from the crisis.

"There are threats on the horizon, threats that can be addressed, should be addressed but are not necessarily addressed," she said.

Europe has come under fire for its failure to end the eurozone debt crisis. Leaders in the US and Asia have become frustrated at delays in agreeing measures to bolster Greece, Spain and Portugal.

Lagarde said: "We expect action and we expect courageous and co-operative action on the part of our members."

The IMF has expressed frustration with Europe's piecemeal response to its debt crisis and warned that a recent respite in borrowing costs for debt-laden countries such as Spain may prove short-lived unless eurozone leaders come up with a comprehensive and credible plan.

The IMF itself came under fire after it admitted in its World Economic Outlook report that officials had underestimated the effects of austerity measures on economic growth. The report found that for every £1 of spending cuts the economy shrank by about £1.30, compared with the previous estimate of 50p.

The IMF was a strong supporter of the austerity measures adopted by western countries including Britain in the aftermath of the financial crisis, but it has U-turned in recent months and urged governments to plan their reforms over longer periods to lessen the impact on growth.

Lagarde said on Thursday that struggling countries should have more time to meet budget cuts. "It is sometimes better to have a bit more time," she said. "That is what we advocated for Portugal, this is what we advocated for Spain and this is what we are advocating for Greece."

Lagarde also said, however, that she backed the IMF's chief economist, Olivier Blanchard, who argued it was necessary to pursue government spending cuts or risk a backlash from international money markets and a rise in borrowing costs.

The chancellor, George Osborne, is expected to admit next month in his autumn statement that he has missed at least one of his deficit reduction targets. He has already announced an extension of the government's rolling five-year austerity programme to 2018.

Oxfam warned that the IMF's focus on the eurozone should not be at the expense of the world's poorest. "It's imperative that the poorest countries are not overlooked at this meeting. Europe's crisis needs to be fixed because the fallout is seriously threatening developing countries. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Greek unemployment hits record high of 25.1 percent

High school children protest outside the finance ministry against state funding cuts to municipalities that have disrupted school bus services, in Athens on Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012. Greece's coalition government is struggling to meet demands by international rescue creditors for a massive new austerity cuts required for continued payment of emergency loans. (AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis)Unemployment in Greece hit a record high of 25.1 percent in July as the country's financial crisis continues to exact its heavy toll, official figures showed Thursday.


Greece has not faced up to the ghosts of its past | Constantine Giannaris

As Angela Merkel makes a futile attempt to prop up Greece's political class, the country is on the brink of self-destruction

Angela Merkel and her new act – Deutsch-Griechische Freundschaft – played a gig in downtown Athens this week. Billed as the launch of Merkel's new album "Ich bin eine Athenerin", critics already insist that much of the material is recycled from previous works. They point to the painfully monotonous riffs which set the teeth on edge to suggest that Merkel may well get sadistic kicks out of taunting its listeners. Merkel touched down for six hours. She gave a solid, no frills, no nonsense set. She came, she saw, she played. It didn't set the house on fire – but then again, we Greeks are quite capable of doing that ourselves.

One of the forseeable blowbacks of the wildfire that swept through Greece in 2009 has been the corrosive rise of xenophobia and racism, directed both inwards towards immigrants and outwards towards Europe, especially Germany. The latter was expressed at its most vulgar at this week's anti-Merkel protests in Athens, where images of a Fourth Reich enslaving the country, belittling its people, ripping off its (as yet undiscovered) oil reserves and annexing western Thrace to hand back to the Ottomans played heavily to the collective imagination.

These days, sordid conspiracy theories abound in Greece. Sane considerate folk espouse bizarre political narratives. Old middle-class sureties have given way to gloom, idiocy and self-mutilation. Those already on the edge have tipped over into self-destruction and turned against the vulnerable.

The problem is that, as a society, Greece never made peace with itself. Nor did it engage in a truthful dialogue about the ghosts of its past. It has never enforced self-evident codes and norms of behaviour. The fundamentals of a liberal order were never fully in place. So when the financial tsunami hit, it fell apart.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the country's metropolitan heart. Greek residents stranded in the wasteland of central Athens are turning on "immigrants" who have been in the country for 20 years. Second-generation Albanian kids are venting their jobless fury on Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Afghans their own age. The faultlines of the old civil war are reappearing. Militias of far-right thugs do battle with immigrants and gangs of leftist youths.

Earlier this week it emerged that anti-fascists were imprisoned illegally for days at the Attica General Police Directorate (Gada), the Athens equivalent of Scotland Yard, where they were tortured by officers who, to all intents and purposes, were card-carrying members of Golden Dawn. A slate of attacks on gays in the street may hint at what is yet to come. Yet the minister of public order talks of "zero tolerance", to the accolades of the respectable bourgeois press.

The death of the old political order is all too apparent. Scandals come to light every day and the sums involved, if true, are staggering. This only excites the febrile minds of a ruined petit bourgeoisie, which is turning furiously against the old authorities. Justice proceeds at a snail's pace and the mob bays for blood and everyone is guilty till proven innocent.

The hardline Stalinist CP, for years the bulwark against the rise of fascism in plebeian neighbourhoods, is now openly taunted in parliament by far-right MPs about its terminal decline.

The Syriza left is now a mass electoral movement attracting the old socialist clientele who jumped ship, discredited union bureaucrats and radicalised youth. It promises to roll back the neoliberal onslaught personified to them by Frau Merkel, to halt austerity measures, but also to stay in the euro and the EU. It generally promises to create a brave new world, even if it is a bit coy in spelling out what exactly that world may look like.

The imminent danger for the country is social implosion. Some talk of a postmodern Weimar. Others of a black hole like Kosovo. The purpose of Merkel's visit, on a symbolic level, was to bring the country back into the mainstream European fold and prop up a mercurial and discredited political class. Yet can the people so centrally implicated in the country's fall take on the role of its saviour?

If the European and domestic elites do not quickly change their plan to "manage" this crisis, then the centre will not hold. Then the political economy of pain will truly come into its own. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Greece unemployment gets even worse

CNN's Matthew Chance outlines Greece's economic woes as the jobless figure increases and Coca-Cola's second biggest bottler pulls out.


Coca-Cola Hellenic quits Greece and seeks refuge in London

Greece's biggest company is pulling out of near-bankrupt Greece and seeking listing on London stock exchange

Greece's biggest company, Coca-Cola Hellenic, is pulling out of the near-bankrupt country and seeking refuge by listing on the London stock exchange.

The €5.7bn (£4.6bn) company, which bottles Coke in 28 countries from Russia to Nigeria, said it would move its headquarters to Switzerland and hopes to list its shares on the FTSE 100 in London.

Coca-Cola Hellenic, which makes up a fifth of the Greek stock market, said it was ditching Greece after credit rating agencies downgraded the company's rating following the country's downgrade deeper into "junk" status.

The firm, which is 23%-owned by Coca-Cola, hopes switching to London will rid it of the "Greek discount", which has depressed its shares because many international investors are afraid of putting money into the debt-ridden country.

Dimitris Lois, CCH's chief executive, said listing in London would "give us greater recognition among international investors, will increase the liquidity of our stock and improve our access to the international equity and debt markets."

Lois said it made "clear business sense" to leave Greece because 95% of its operations and nearly all its investors were outside of Greece, with 16% of sales coming from Russia, 15% in Italy and 9% in Nigeria.

In a statement, Lois said he hoped the company would be able to join the FTSE 100 index of the UK's biggest companies. CCH's market value of £4.6m would, in theory, make it Britain's 74th-biggest company, just ahead of British Land.

The announcement – a heavy blow to Greece's Treasury as CCH is among the nation's biggest taxpayers – came on the same day that official figures showed Greek tax revenues fell €1.3bn short of the target set by the Troika of international lenders as part of its bailout agreement.

Analysts said Greece's high corporation taxes, which can reach 45%, were likely to have been a big factor in CCH's decision. Sources close the company confirmed its big shareholders had been pushing for CCH to move out of Greece for some time.

Manos Hatzidakis, an analyst at Beta Securities, said: "The Greek bourse is losing a very good company and the London Stock Exchange is gaining a very important group.

"It's very bad news for the Greek economy and bourse."

Because most of its activities are outside Greece, CCH has consistently out-performed the Athens stock market, which has slumped to a 20-year low. The company, which employs more than 40,000 people, became Greece's biggest after the nation's banks plummeted in value. CCH said its Greek bottling plants would be unaffected by the move, which is scheduled to take place next year pending a shareholder vote.

CCH is the second big firm to leave Greece for a low-tax jurisdiction this week following the withdrawal of dairy company FAGE to Luxembourg, and analysts say many other big Greek businesses are weighing up plans to leave the country.

The news came as Greece eleased figures on Thursday showing unemployment soared to a record 25.1% in July. The Greek statistical service ELSTAT said unemployment had risen for the 35th consecutive month and was 0.3% higher than in June.

More than 1.26m Greeks were actively seeking employment in July, a 43% increase on a year earlier. Young people are the worst affected with 54% of Greeks aged 15-24 out of work. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


In Greece, 'Hello Pragmatism, Goodbye Austerity'

Wall Street Journal

In Greece, 'Hello Pragmatism, Goodbye Austerity'
Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, says Greece should be given another two years to meet its fiscal targets, and is calling for more debt reduction before it chips in new money of its own. We drew attention a few days back to ...
IMF says Greece, Spain should be given more time to cut deficitsReuters
IMF Advises Europe To Give Spain, Greece More Time To Reduce DebtHuffington Post
IMF Lagarde Seeks More Time for Greece AusterityWall Street Journal
Businessweek -MarketWatch
all 624 news articles »


Greek police accused of using protester as human shield

Witnesses say the young woman was frogmarched in handcuffs ahead of riot police as protesters threw stones at officers

Greek authorities have launched an investigation into allegations that riot police used a female protestor as a human shield during angry demonstrations against a visit to Athens by the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, this week.

Witnesses told the Guardian that the young woman, who has yet to be identified, was frogmarched in handcuffs ahead of riot police as protesters threw stones at officers.

News of the investigation came as magistrates launched a separate inquiry into a Guardian report that anti-fascist protesters, arrested after clashing with extremists from the neo–Nazi Golden Dawn party, were subjected to torture by officers at the Attica General Police Directorate. Human Rights Watch said accountability for police abuse was urgently needed.

"The scenes described by the victims to reporters are deeply shocking. No one should be treated that way by police. Greece needs to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation of their allegations," the group said.

The inquiry was opened after photographs of the incident began to circulate the internet, triggering widespread condemnation of the tactics law enforcement officials stand increasingly accused of employing in the crisis-hit country.

"It is being investigated," said Lieutenant Colonel Christos Manouras, Greece's police spokesman. "We want to find out what these pictures hide."

In the pictures a young woman, her faced daubed in white anti-teargas solution, with a pink rucksack on her back, is seen being escorted by riot police before being placed in front of the unit when it encounters stone-throwing protesters.

Witnesses said the woman appeared to be disoriented and terrified as she was marched through the streets of Athens in handcuffs.

Foula Pharmacides, a shipping company employee, had participated in the demonstration outside parliament, but fled down a sidestreet off Syntagma Square when police fired teargas to disperse the crowds. She described the raw terror on the woman's face.

"As the squad moved down Xenofontos Street with the girl, the protesters appeared," she said. "Then when the protesters started throwing things, the cop holding the girl takes her from the front of the unit to the back to face them and he starts moving her like a shield from left to right.

"The girl was falling down and he was picking her up. She was crying and clearly terrified. I couldn't believe it. You only ever see this sort of thing in the movies. Everyone started screaming 'Shame on you! Shame on you!' I remember there were two women next to me and they were crying, too, and screaming for the police to stop."

Sokratis Michalopoulos, another witness, said the episode ended when the "booing got so loud" and the riot squad decided to move on. "I don't think I will ever forget her face," said the 36-year-old television technician. "It was as if she were an object not a human being and I think she was in shock. She was definitely being used as a shield. Thank God photographers were there and we now have cameras on phones otherwise people would think we were mad. No one would believe us."

Veteran photographer Spyros Tsakiris, who also witnessed the incident, said the riot policeman who had been holding the woman had written "killer" in English on one of his bag straps.

As the debt-stricken country descends into further chaos amid mounting social and political tensions brought on by Athens' economic meltdown, accusations of police brutality are growing. In recent months reports have become widespread of codes of conduct being flouted by law enforcement officers.

The heavy-handedness has been attributed to links between the police force and the far-right Golden Dawn whose popularity has surged on the back of soaring crime and anti-immigrant hysteria.

"The police are angry. They are over-stretched and underpaid and becoming increasingly anti-government and radicalised in this case to the right," said Panos Garganas, a prominent leftist activist.

"Since democracy was restored in 1974 [with the collapse of military rule] I have attended hundreds of demonstrations and have seen police sit on people and kneel on people, but never someone being used as a human shield," he said. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Greek Presence Growing at Santa Clara

Greek Presence Growing at Santa Clara
The Santa Clara
Greek presence is growing by leaps and bounds on Santa Clara's campus. These organizations, whether it be traditional, business or culturally based, offer students a whole host of unique opportunities. More than just social, these organizations can ...


Greece's biggest company flees, bottler CCH to Switzerland

Irish Times

Greece's biggest company flees, bottler CCH to Switzerland
ATHENS (Reuters) - Greece's biggest company, Coca Cola Hellenic, is leaving the country, the drinks bottler said on Thursday as its move to Switzerland and a London listing for its shares dealt a blow to the crippled Greek economy. The immediate ...
Ouch: Greece's biggest company, Coca-Cola Hellenic, moves outLos Angeles Times
Coca-Cola bottler quits GreeceCNN
Greece's Coca Cola Hellenic called Athens Stock Exchange into
Financial Times -Irish Times
all 58 news articles »


Charlemagne: No more Grexit

EUROPE’S charge-sheet against Antonis Samaras has lengthened with each turn of the Greek crisis. As leader of the-then opposition New Democracy, his refusal to support the first bail-out was seen as crippling. Later on, when he backed the unity government of Lucas Papademos, Mr Samaras was evasive about the second rescue. And by forcing early elections this year, he was blamed for opening the door to extremists of all stripes. Would it not be better, some thought, if Greece just left the euro?These days, as prime minister, Mr Samaras has started to command a measure of respect. After a meeting of euro-zone finance ministers this week, their president, Jean-Claude Juncker, went out of his way to praise the Greek leader: “I am impressed…The Greek government is behaving, I do think, in an admirable way.” The visit to Athens this week by the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, (see article) is the clearest signal yet that “Grexit” is no longer on her mind. One reason for embracing Mr Samaras is that he is the lesser evil, given the...


Greece and Germany: Angela’s Athens

Greeks bearing grudges

AS a stiff Aegean breeze fluttered the hair and lapels of Angela Merkel’s pale-green jacket, one Greek reporter thought the outfit looked familiar. The German chancellor, making a one-day working visit to Athens, seemed to have picked the same jacket she wore in July while watching Germany trounce Greece 4-2 at this year’s European football championship. Was Mrs Merkel planning to blast the Greeks again, this time for foot-dragging over economic reforms?Antonis Samaras, the prime minister, need not have worried. The European Union’s toughest advocate of austerity gave a positive message, even if it was typically cautious. Mrs Merkel said she hoped and wished that Greece would remain a member of the euro zone, praised the country’s progress with cutting expenditure and offered “practical” assistance with structural reforms, such as German expertise on overhauling tax administration and modernising local government.The chancellor’s efforts to empathise with ordinary Greeks suffering the pain of a five-year recession were less successful. Hostile protesters outside...


'Most wanted' fugitive Wayne Smith to return to UK

Man and partner, Julie Anne Skelding, spent last six years hiding in northern Cyprus after jumping bail over crash death

Wayne Smith, one of the UK's nine most wanted fugitives, was due return to Britain on Thursday night with his partner, Julie Anne Skelding.

The fugitive couple have spent the last six years hiding in northern Cyprus after jumping bail, but gave themselves up after Smith admitted their time on the run had become a "living nightmare".

Smith and Skelding were expected to land at Birmingham airport and will be remanded in custody.

"We are 95% certain they will be up in court in Birmingham [on Friday] to face fresh and new charges of failing to appear in court to answer to bail but it depends on when the court has the time available to hear their case," a spokesman for West Midlands police said.

"It will be up to the court to decide whether to bail the couple, but given their history of skipping the country, it's unlikely any request [for bail] will be granted," he said.

Smith, now 38, was involved in a car crash on the evening of 5 June 2005 that caused the death of Mohammed Idrees, aged 22.

Idrees was hit by one car as he crossed a suburban road in Birmingham before a second car, driven by Smith, crashed into him and dragged him about 350 metres before he pulled over.

Smith, from Billesley in the West Midlands, was arrested after the crash, charged and released on conditional bail but fled the country before his trial had finished. In 2006, the former account executive with a mobile phone company was convicted in his absence of causing death by dangerous driving and perverting the course of justice.

He was one of three people due to be sentenced on 7 November 2006 but fled to Turkish-occupied northern Cyprus, which has no extradition treaty with the UK.

Skelding joined him soon afterwards when a jury found her guilty of perverting the course of justice by giving Smith a false alibi. The couple were named last month on the latest most-wanted list released by Crimestoppers and the Serious Organised Crime Agency.

Before he and Skelding handed themselves in, Smith told Sky News: "I want to go back and face justice. It's about closure for me and closure for the family of the man who died.

"Their loss is tragic and I sympathise and I'm truly and deeply sorry. No one wants to turn back the clocks more than I do if I could."

Smith said he drove away from the crime scene because he was afraid a large group of Asian men running in his direction would attack and kill him. He fled abroad because he was suffering from stress and had received death threats which the police failed to take seriously, he added.

"This is no holiday lifestyle here," he said. "We have no money and struggle from day to day to make ends meet.

"We have been lucky to make some unbiased friends and they have supported us. No one knew our background, but obviously they do now.

"I didn't come here and change my name or my appearance. When someone has challenged me I've told the truth."

Smith has been employed as an odd-job man in northern Cyprus. Skelding, 40, worked in various bars popular with British expatriates. "It's become a living nightmare because eventually your passport runs out," said Smith. "I never wanted to escape justice, I wanted time to consider my actions because I felt I was unfairly convicted."

Smith said they were already considering returning to Britain before Crimestoppers launched the most wanted appeal.

"I was involved in a tragic accident. It was hurtful to see myself described as most wanted. I would never put myself in that category with terrorists and murderers," he said.

"What I did was wrong, I killed a man, but it wasn't intentional. I was charged with the wrong offence and I am going back to launch an appeal," he said.

Smith faces at least three years in jail for Idrees's death, and between three and 12 months for failing to surrender when on court bail. Skelding is also likely to be sent to prison. Perverting the course of justice is a common law offence with no statutory maximum sentence.

The couple told the British high commission in Cyprus three weeks ago that they wanted to surrender. He said, however, they were unable to hand themselves in immediately because Smith's passport and northern Cyprus visa had expired.

Skelding's documents were still valid but for Smith to give himself up, he had to cross the border to the Greek south, where police were waiting to arrest him on a European arrest warrant.

Smith said he feared the Turkish border guards would arrest him and jail him for document violations before he could cross to the Greek side. But the guards waved him through and he and Skelding were arrested in the south. They have been held in a police station in the capital of Nicosia. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds