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New scandalous cases of tax evasion

14 December 2013 / 17:12:59  GRReporter
3731 reads

A case of huge tax evasion, exceeding the amount of 115 million euro, on the part of a large ship owner has been covered up for years. On the Zougla talk show, the former chief accountant of the famous ship owning Goulandris family, George Sarantidis, accused, on the basis of documents, Kostas and Yiannis Goulandris as well as political figures and government officials of covering the case.

Current Deputy Minister of Health Antonis Bezas was at the "epicentre" of the story too as, according to Sarantidis, he had not dealt with the problem although he had been aware of the tax evasion even in 2008, when he was Deputy Minister of Finance, and despite the fact that he had received two letters with all the data on the case.

According to the former accountant of firms "Goulandris Brothers" and "Praktorio Vori", Bezas had ignored the letter and disregarded the accusations. The team of the talk show tried to get in touch with Bezas for comment but he did not respond.

Chronicles of the case

On 7 February 2001 the service combating economic crimes initiated a check of the records and data (official and unofficial) for the year 2000 of the two companies of Ioannis and Konstantinos Goulandris.

The data were sent to the tax office on 9 March, after the check. The tax office, in turn, carried out a check one year later and established in the "Goulandris Brothers" firm alone tax evasion to the amount of 400 million drachmas, in the year 2000 alone.

According to the former chief accountant, at the request of a known mediator of another ship owing family, the auditor of the Ministry of Finance at the time, George Stamatopoulos, had carried out another check which had exempted the company from a fine amounting to millions of drachmas and imposed on it a penalty of ... 880 euro.

The data available to Sarantidis show that the reason for this was the fact that the auditor had accepted as new details of the case the charges of stealing large amounts raised by the company itself against George Sarantidis and other former employees.

Extremely interesting is the fact that the check carried out by auditor Stamatopoulos had involved books with corrected stamps, i.e. invalid books. Thus, according to Sarantidis, the auditor had cancelled the penalty through invalid documents and the purpose of the check had been to annul the huge fine.

Curious behaviour on the part of politicians and state institutions

The politicians involved in the case: Georgios Driss, Dimitris Georgakopoulos, Apostolos Fotiadis, Antonis Bezas, Yiannis Papathanasiou

In October 2001 George Sarantidis sent a confidential file to the Deputy Minister of Finance at the time, PASOK deputy Georgios Driss, to inform him about a case of tax evasion during the period from 1992 to 2000, amounting to millions of drachmas and involving ship owners Goulandris. Driss had transferred the file to the Deputy Minister of Finance, Apostolos Fotiadis.

Apostolos Fotiadis ordered the financial inspectors of the Ministry of Finance to examine the case. The same auditor, George Stamatopoulos, carried out a check again but its results, according to his report, had not indicated tax evasion. George Sarantidis allegedly had provided evidence of the specific check related to the suppliers of the ship owners’ companies.

In 2003, the former chief accountant turned again to Apostolos Fotiadis and informed him in writing of the persons (tax officials, inspectors, etc.) who had delayed the checks connected with the accusations of tax evasion for the period from 1992 to 2000.

In 2008, Sarantidis turned again, through two letters in which he had explained the case, to the Deputy Minister of Economy and Finance at the time, Antonis Bezas from New Democracy, who was also responsible for tax and customs matters, but he had not replied. There was a parliamentary question about the case of Sarantidis raised by deputy Theodoros Dritsas from SYRIZA and the former Minister of Finance, Yiannis Papathanassiou from New Democracy, replied that a check was underway.

In 2010, Sarantidis informed about the same case the Chief Secretary of the Ministry of Finance at the time, Dimitris Georgakopoulos, from whom he had received no reply either. Therefore, in 2011, he visited the head of the service combating economic crimes at the time, Nikos Lekas, who, as Sarantidis claims, had done nothing although he had been aware of the case.

Tags: Tax evasionShip ownersGoulnadrisInvolved politicians
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