ATHENS – A Greek surgeon charged with demanding a bribe from a cancer patient has been released from pretrial custody on 20,000 euros ($22,836) bail but still not named with no indication when, or if he would be prosecuted.
The 50-year-old doctor at the Ippokratio General Hospital in Athens was arrested after authorities said he took a bribe a bribe in marked bills that he had demanded from a patient in order to perform an operation, a routine procedure in Greece where patients often hand physicians envelopes known as “fakelaki,” to insure better care or face pain.
The patient, who has been diagnosed with cancer, said he had already paid two bribes to the same doctor, a gastroenterologist, for two other operations, said Kathimerini, citing a police report he filed saying the doctor behaved “indifferently” to his condition even though he had received a total of 2,650 euros ($3026) for the two previous operations and was demanding a further 600 euros ($685), threatening otherwise not to treat him for heavy bleeding that followed surgery.
A number of doctors have been arrested in similar cases with no major prosecutions reported and the phenomenon seemingly unstoppable in Greece, which has one of the worst records for corruption in the European Union.
Fed up with the practice, the notorious anarchist group Rouvikonas had stormed into the office of one surgeon they said was demanding bribes and threatened physical injury and violence if he kept doing it.
Greek privacy laws generally mean no suspects are named no matter how serious the charges against them and reports of doctors demanding under-the-table-payments keeps going on.