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Director, Four Workers at Greek Island Tax Office Charged With Bribery

CHALKIDA, Greece – As Greece is pushing to rein in tax evaders – which no government has been able to do – the director and four employees at the Halkida tax office on the country’s second-biggest island of Evia, were arrested on bribery charges.

No names were given but police said the five tax officials were allegedly receiving bribes from citizens to expedite procedures not explained and accused of blackmailing businesses and taxpayers to pay them.

Authorities were said to have estimated that the suspects took in 96,500 euros ($104,487) in alleged bribes, an investigation beginning in November 2023 by a taxpayer complaining of being asked to pay a bribe of 5,000 euros ($5414) but it wasn’t said for what it was.

Officials said during the police operation one of the tax workers had an envelope containing 10,000 euros ($10,828) that was confiscated along with another 78,795 euros ($85,317) in cash, an unregistered hunting rifle and other items.

Besides the five arrested, two others were detained for allegedly participating in the bribery ring but their role wasn’t explained. Greek tax offices have  had a reputation for corruption as people seek to avoid paying up to 45 percent of their income.

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