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Greek singer conceals income through a company in Bulgaria

11 January 2016 / 17:01:59  GRReporter
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Can a Greek municipality agree, in times of crisis, to pay Greek singers' fees to a Bulgarian company, knowing that it thus becomes an accomplice to tax evasion and contributes to the loss of tax that would otherwise be received by the Greek state? And all this in a fictitious conformity with the law. I.e.by posting the decisions on the e-government website Diavgia (Transparency) together with the payment orders signed by the relevant employee at the Court of Auditors.

This issue has come to light in connection with the incredible disclosures about the last 2015 session of the municipal council in Xanthi, in connection with the concert that Vassilis Papakonstantinou performed within the context of the municipal celebrations of the Old Town in early September and the payment method of the performer’s fees amounting to 16,500 euro. Presenting all data, the representatives of the opposition who had put the matter to the attention of the municipal council, revealed that the fee had been transferred at the expense of Vassilis Papakonstantinou to a legal entity, namely a company in Bulgaria.

A number of issues arose during the meeting of the municipal council in Xanthi

"Is it moral and legal for Xanthi Municipality to agree that the municipal cultural centre pays for the rights of a concert by Vassilis Papakonstantinou during the celebrations of the Old Town to a Bulgarian firm, apparently aiming to avoid taxes and to what extent?", opposition leader Athanasios Xinidis asked the municipal authorities. He is a lawyer and the brother of former PASOK minister Sokratis Xinidis, one of the first to oppose and give publicity to the illegal property swaps in Vatopedi. This time, Athanasios Xinidis stresses that it is unacceptable for Xanthi Municipality to do such a thing and that it should not accept artists who are not represented by Greek companies.

"Asylum"

These questions were answered in essence neither during nor after the municipal council session. According to sources, other Greek artists also received fees from state institutions and private individuals through Bulgarian companies to evade taxes, thus aiming to avoid the capital controls imposed by the Greek state and Greek banks, which are not allowing money over the set limits to be exported abroad.

The reason for making public the issue of Vassilis Papakonstantinou’s concert fee was the payment order from the Cultural Centre of Xanthi Municipality under number ΕΝΤ 32Β GPP-ΑDΑ 64Ι9ΟΚ7Ε-7ΙD with as reason for payment "Organizing a concert by Papakonstantinou within the context of Old Town 2015 celebrations" and uploading it on the government website Diavgia (Transparency) on 16 December 2015. This payment order indicates as a beneficiary (in Bulgarian) one Bulgarian company, its name in English being The Brain Co Southeast Europe Ltd, with a Bulgarian tax number (203 356 523). As is clear from the payment order, only 17 euro were deducted from the gross amount of the agreed fee of 16,500 euro, as the case regarded a legal entity of another EU member state, and the total amount paid was 16,483 euro.

The payment order of the Cultural Centre for Vassilis Papakonstantinou’s concert
 
If the entity is a Greek company, the law provides for deducting from Xanthi Municipality 20% of the total amount as tax, or 3,300 euro in this case, which directly goes to the tax office. Taxation on companies in Greece amounts to over 40%, whereas in Bulgaria it is only 10%.

The representatives of the municipal authorities are trying to avoid responsibility and Paschalis Liratzis, head of the Cultural Centre states, "We do not choose companies or managers, we choose performers. Vassilis Papakonstantinou cooperates with them and this is legal." However, a serious moral question is arising regarding Vassilis Papakonstantinou. During his concert in Xanthi, he again sent ... "Greetings to power": "I do not want ... to decide behind closed doors, I am one of those who always remain outside, because I have no tie nor bow tie..." The performer raised the audience with his revolutionary songs, but with his biting remarks too. His top performance was the song "Hello, minister", stating that "... you sent as migrants your best children. One thing I will tell you, and the rest is well deserved. F..k your ministry, f..k your money."

Contract

As stated, the concert was preceded by a series of procedures, including both the submission of a financial bid and the signing of a contract that should indicate the contract side, namely a specific legal entity, and the payment method.

Tags: Vassilis PapakonstantinouConcertXanthiTax evasion
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