Greek Mayors Lead Hidden Assets List

Dozens of Greek mayors, along with doctors, soccer referees and journalists have reportedly falsified required declarations of wealth to hide their income.

ATHENS – Dozens of mayors, along with doctors, soccer referees and journalists have reportedly falsified their required declaration of wealth to hide their true income to evade taxes, the chief of Greece’s anti-corruption agency has said.

Panayiotis Nikoloudis, who is the Supreme Court’s Deputy Prosecutor and head of the National Agency for Combating Money Laundering, submitted a list that showed the names of 70 local authority officials as well as doctors, soccer referees and journalists, among others.

The names were given to members of the Parliament’s Ethics and Transparency Committee and it was said to include many high-ranking officials.

The government has been going after more people generally considered untouchable in the past and looking to see if they have fully declared the sources of their wealth.

Former defense minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos was initially found guilty of failing to reveal all his income and received an eight-year jail sentence before another 20 was given for money laundering and corruption charges after he was convicted of stealing perhaps hundreds of millions of euros from defense contracts.

Unrelated to the so-called Nikoloudis case, another former defense minister, Yiannos Papantoniou, and his wife Stavroula Kourakou are expected to face a prosecutor on April 8 on charges of filing false sources of wealth in 2009 and 2010.

The prosecution alleges that the couple didn’t report they had two million euros in a Swiss bank when they submitted the declaration that is required of public officials. It was in Kourakou’s name.

In a written deposition submitted in December last year, the former Socialist minister said the account had been set up in 2000 by his wife and her ex-husband as a trust fund to cover the expenses of her children’s studies.

He said he knew nothing about it and that in 2010, when the money was transferred to Greece, his wife’s children took control of the cash.