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"Poor" wife of a former minister spent € 1.5 million for cars

27 September 2011 / 16:09:09  GRReporter
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The panic caused by the imposition of extra taxes placed the discussion about the common financial scandals in recent years, with key figures politicians of yesteryear as well as members of the present Parliament. The reluctance of Greek lawmakers to deprive of dozens of benefits made them the target of media and commentators. "The Greek politicians who have made the "great" sacrifice to deprive of a salary, while people are hardly bearing the heavy burden of taxes, did not make the expected purge in their circles and behave like a philistine organization" is the common phrase heard in the microphones more often. However, apparently there is a good reason.

According to exclusive information for the Greek newspaper Realnews, the income tax returns for 2010 the former Minister of Defence Akis Tsohadzopuolos and his wife Vicki Stamati filed shows that she spent € 1.5 million for cars, although she has not any income declared.
In particular, the former minister who was investigated for receiving huge bribes from the German giant Siemens has declared revenues of € 82,680, which is his members’ retirement payment, and presumptive income of € 8700, while his wife’s income is zero, as it was in 2009. The last time the former employee of the national electricity company has declared income was in 2008 and it was in the amount of € 15,330.

The income tax return filed this year shows that Vicki Stamati spent one and half million euro for "renting or buying cars, motorcycles or other motor vehicles." However, this is far the strangest thing in the document. The wife of the controversial minister has declared that she had revenue of one million euro from the utilization of assets, i.e. from the sale of real estate. She declared € 530,000 under the code, which describes the amounts of capital consumption.

According to experts, the entry of amounts in the particular box is the easiest way for taxpayers to justify the basic estimated cost of the taxpayer for the year or the acquisition of real estate. Simply put, this is an opportunity to justify the difference between the basic estimated and the declared income arguing that cash surplus appeared in previous years that was taxed or legally exempted and used to cover the gap amount during the current fiscal year. In this case, the sum entered as a result from the difference between the utilisation of property and the capital consumption amounts justifies the unreasonably high cost of buying a car worth € 1.5 million from the wife of the former minister.

Akis Tsohadzopoulos was investigated by the parliamentary committee on charges that he had received huge bribes from German and French firms for the purchase of defence equipment from them. MEPs voted to send the case to the justice, which in practice is not possible, because under the current law on ministerial responsibility, their liability is covered by the limitation period after the specific parliamentary session. So, the former close associate of Andreas Papandreou and later a candidate for the leadership of PASOK was not convicted of any of the allegations, although some media have submitted dozens of documents showing his involvement in various transactions with third parties and offshore companies. Similarly, he had purchased a house in neoclassical style in one of the most expensive streets in Europe, at the foot of the Acropolis, which became the reason for his disaffiliation with PASOK.

Although striking, this is not the only case. For months, the main slogans during most rallies and processions are directed against politicians, many of whom have become objects of defamation and attacks. Commentators warn that this impunity causes great tension among the citizens; it could rise to dangerous levels and the consequences would be disastrous.

Tags: PoliticsFormer ministerAkis TsohadzopuolosTax returnVicki StamatiIncomeReal estate
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