People walk past the auxiliary head office of National Bank of Greece in Athens May 14, 2015. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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Greece's leftist government Thursday sought to deflect criticism over tensions with the Bank of Greece, saying it respected the bank's independence but was free to castigate the governor for actions he took as finance minister.Any deterioration in relations between the two sides could worsen already difficult talks between Greece and its European Union and International Monetary Fund lenders, who have been angered by what they say is the Greek government's refusal to play by European rules.Bank chief Jens Weidmann criticized the weekly top-ups of emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) to Greek banks, saying in a German newspaper interview that this broke the taboo of financing governments.Stournaras was appointed central bank governor last June.Interior Minister Nikos Voutsis this week also questioned why Stournaras – who suggested Greece tap an IMF holding account to repay 750 million euros to the fund this week and avoid default – had not mentioned the funds earlier.
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