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Economic crimes under the wing of the Papandreou family

08 January 2012 / 17:01:54  GRReporter
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Yannis Kapeleris or "the Rambo from Agia Varvara " as he was named after assuming the post of a leader of the Agency to combat financial crime, had to resign at the request of the Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos. Thus the way for judicial investigation opened regarding the case with Kapeleris’ circular, with which the registration for traders of fuels in the "IFESTOS" system was being regulated.

Proceedings have been instituted because of uncollected fines for smuggling fuel and the amount of damage to the country was 15 million Euros, as indicated in the report of the Financial Deputy Prosecutor Spyros Mouzakitis.

According to friends of the former Chief Secretary, he is convinced that the truth will come out and that the problematic fines are actually registrations carried out after the deadline and affect thousands of businesses, which would have shut down if the procedure had started. He also argues that the problem was known to the political leadership and enactment to solve it was expected.

During the first months after taking office he was a regular visitor of the media, where he presented the success stories of the arrests of doctors and businessmen, who had hurt the state. Now Kapeleris has disappeared from the eye of the media but he still enjoys his old daily habits. He drinks coffee at cafeteria "Angelos", located near his home in Agia Varvara, and visits the tavern "To drami" with his friends in the same area.

Yannis Kapeleris has been living in Agia Varvara since 1977. Back then he was 18 years old and had come to Athens from his native village of Agios Ioannis in Monemvasia, in order to study at the Economic Faculty of the University of Athens. During the first years of his life in the capital, he worked at a tyre factory. He got married at the age of 22 and a year later the first of his two sons was born.

In 1987 he began his career in the offices of the Finance Ministry, where he was appointed without having to pass an interview. His colleagues remember that from the beginning he showed the qualities of a good employee, but add that he did not have the "necessary skills to participate significantly in the political game."

Despite everything he steadily climbs the ladder in the party hierarchy. "He is an experienced person who knows the market very well and knows how the system works", mention former tax officials and note that Kapeleris is one of the best experts on tax law.


It was not by accident that from 1998 to 2007 he was appointed in charge of "Tax Audit", published by the Federation of Tax officials, where he dealt with tax issues, and later he was elected secretary general of the Federation’s executive committee. Kapeleris never hid his party affiliation and he would not make the necessary manoeuvres to always be located close to the leadership of the PanHellenic union movement of workers (PASKE), as emphasized by party members.

Initially he worked with the former President of the Federation of tax officials, later with deputy Andreas Makripidis, and later with the next President Yannis Grivas. In 2007 they found themselves in two opposing camps, as Kapeleris strongly supported the candidacy of George Papandreou, leader of PASOK, while Grivas supported Evangelos Venizelos.

Over time Kapeleris created good relationships with the Papandreou family and maintained friendly relations with Nikos, the brother of the PASOK leader, who participated in Kapeleris’ unsuccessful campaign for a candidate member of PASOK in Laconia in 2004 and 2007.

Following the surprise resignation of Dimitris Georgakopoulos from the position of chief secretary in the Ministry of Finance in 2010, the open consultation procedure (opengov) announces as most suitable successor the head of the Agency back then, to combat financial crimes.

However, rumours were circulated that he was appointed because of his friendship with Nikos Papandreou. It seems that initially even the former Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou did not want to work with the "party" trade unionist Kapeleris, but then yielded to the pressure of the surroundings of the former Prime Minister. Many of Kapeleris’ party colleagues unofficially speak unpleasantly about him, but without supporting their assertions with facts.

Only the former colleague of Kapeleris, Diomidis Spinelis, who was the Secretary for Information Systems, pointed out the existence of a mechanism in the Ministry, the purpose of which was to prevent the collection of fines from the smuggling of fuel. As the party to blame he referred to the tax officials. And this is when Aeolus’ bag opened…

Tags: Tax audit tax evasion Greece smuggling fuel
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