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A municipal worker gambled away 12 million euro on the stock exchange

23 January 2014 / 15:01:41  GRReporter
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The findings regarding the "endless party" in the municipality of Thessaloniki during the term of Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos are never-ending. The case, which is considered in the second instance, is attracting great attention since inspector Anastasia Tsembera said on Wednesday that in the period 2004-2005 a municipal worker had gambled away 12 million euro on the stock exchange.

According to Tsembera, the judicial council had released the worker in question because of the financial scandal and currently an investigation of the legalization of proceeds from criminal activities (money laundering) is underway.

The economic inspector expressed once again confidence that it was impossible for former treasurer Panagiotis Saksonis to have stolen alone and that his superiors had at least tolerated him.

The main witness in the case pointed out the omissions on the part of the former mayor with regard to the control over the municipal finances to prevent embezzlement. "He should have examined the accounts or should have assigned this controlling function to the municipal commission," said the witness before the five-member panel of the Court of Appeal.

Intervening in the procedure Mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos presented a mayoral decision stipulating that the heads of the municipal cash office, not involving Saksonis, could only make cash payments.

Defender of the former mayor Dimitri Tsovolas noted in turn that if every mayor, governor or minister counted numbers he would be an accountant rather than a manager. He talked about the resentment on the part of the financial inspector to the former mayor and the former municipal secretary general, Michalis Lemousias, the aim of which was to justify her own mistakes in the investigation.

Anastasia Tsembera repeated the difficulties she had encountered while carrying out the financial inspection in the municipality, since her work has been constantly interrupted. For example, according to her testimony, in 2009 the municipality had sent a document to Minister of Finance at the time Giorgos Alogoskoufis, requesting termination of the investigation or extension of the term within which they had had to submit the documents required by the inspector. Furthermore, she said that a representative of the company responsible for the installation of the double entry system in the municipality had asked her to falsify the investigation data.

In response to questions asked by the defence of the plaintiff, the economic inspector again spoke about the opacity in the financial management of the municipality. Upon mentioning the name of the former municipal secretary general at some point, he flew into a rage, "I have ​​had a heart attack already and now I'll get a stroke from what I am hearing."

The trial has been terminated and it will continue next Tuesday with the testimony of the economic inspector.

Tags: TrialThessaloniki mayorVassilis PapageorgopoulosEconomic inspector
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