Lakis Gavalas, the well-known businessman and designer whose lavish parties on the island of Mykonos attracted the most notorious members of the Greek and international high society, has ended up in jail. He is the first of the Greeks captured for VAT evasion sent behind the bars by justice. The extravagant free-liver was convicted on charges of "saving" the state around 150,000 euro in unpaid VAT on his second company. Its total liabilities amount to 500,000 euro.
This was the third capture of Lakis Gavalas within two months. In the previous two cases for tax evasion, investigators, prosecutors and judges ruled out that he should be freed. After the arrest last night, one of his lawyers said the measure was unfair because Lakis Gavalas is not a potential runaway and it cannot be believed that he is likely to commit the same crimes because he has agreed with the tax authorities to pay his duties gradually. She expressed her intention to file a claim against the order for the temporary arrest of the businessman within the statutory five days to release him.
Members of the service fighting economic crime arrested the colourful businessman for the first time in early December for the first time. The reason for his arrest was the non-payment of 1.5 million euro in VAT. He testified then and was released after the restrictive measures imposed on him.
Last Thursday, 60-year-old Lakis was captured by police. He stood before the court on Friday at noon for a fast-track procedure for obligations to the state in excess of 7.5 million euro. The court released him and said that the case against him will be considered on 9 February, because the specific crime is in the offence range.
Several hours later, members of the economic police handcuffed him for the third time after being convicted of non-payment of VAT for 2011. Lakis Gavalas spent the weekend in custody, and on Monday, he crossed the threshold of the prison in Amphisa. His sentence was imposed for 145,000 out of the total amount of 500,000 euro in VAT, which he had not paid to the state last year.
His lawyers tried to start a deferred payment of his duties, but with no success. His case had already reached the magistrate and the law stipulates that after the commencement of criminal persecution, the defendant is obligated to pay the full amount to avoid prison.
But even there the unique Lakis has not lost his famous sense of humour. When the guards showed him his cell he turned to them and asked, "Do you bring breakfast to the room?".
Meanwhile and for the first time in the history of the country, three prisons announced they are out of capacity to accept more prisoners. The heads of the prisons in Korydallos, Tripoli and Halkida have sent letters to the Ministry of Justice and all prosecutions in the country announcing that they have no room for more prisoners and close their doors.
This development is expected to cause serious problems to the police stations in Athens and Halkida by concentrating hundreds of detainees in them. At the same time, problems in the justice system will occur because transfers of detainees and prisoners will be suspended, leading to the postponement of the trials against them. A period of limitation can even cover some offences.
Typical of the tragic situation of the two prisons is the letter of the Director of Korydallos prison, who stresses, "We inform you that as of today, 27 January 2012, we are out of capacity to accept prisoners due to increased overcrowding of our prison, the capacity of which is 2,345 prisoners ".
The letter of the director in Halkida is in the same spirit. "There is no place to accommodate more prisoners except for the toilets. We are closed. The situation is tragic. The prison is ready to "explode" with consequences unpredictable for its safety. We would like to ask you, after taking this into account, not to send more prisoners to the specific prison. We cannot accept more prisoners. There is no room available to accommodate them. "
The capacity of the prison in Tripoli is 65 people and 180 prisoners are residing there currently. Its director has also sent a letter describing the suffocating circumstances there.
The directors of four other prisons - in Thessaloniki, Malandrino, Grevena and Nauplion, have also informed the Ministry of Justice that their premises are bursting with prisoners. Today, the total number of prisoners in all Greek prisons is 12,703 people and it is the largest ever recorded, while their capacity is for 9,300 people. There should be 800 prisoners in the prison in Korydallos, and today, they are 2,320.
Today, the Greek Parliament discussed the relieving measures for prisons proposed by the Ministry of Justice.