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Secretary General of the Ministry of Finance is charged with a felony against the state

03 January 2012 / 11:01:10  GRReporter
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Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos called for the resignation of the Secretary General, who is also in charge of the customs and tax offices, Yannis Kapeleris. He is a former head of the Financial crimes control agency and was implicated in corruption scandals in which senior executives have deliberately delayed the payment of fines for established violations related to fuel smuggling. Kapeleris is charged with a felony against the state, and the fines, which he attempted to have suppressed are worth 15 million euro.

His name surfaced after the investigation of the economic prosecutor Grigoris Peponis, who withdrew his resignation just a few days after he submitted it. In the last days of December 2011 Peponis and his colleague Spyros Mouzakitis insisted on leaving the posts held by them, because of the political pressure exercised on them, which prevented them from performing their duties. With the advent of the new year it seems that something has changed in the views of both economic prosecutors and they continue their work related to investigating serious economic crimes.

Officials from the Ministry of Finance insisted that Kapeleris was dismissed only to facilitate the judicial investigation. He denies being guilty of the charges brought against him, and the economic prosecutor has ordered that the investigation be continued, so as to clarify whether Kapeleris acted alone or had received orders from higher ranks.

The issue of the outstanding fines for fuel smuggling has been discussed since the autumn of last year. Kapeleris was summoned in November by the judicial authorities because of the testimony of former Secretary of the Ministry of Finance, Diomidis Spinelis, before the Appellate Prosecutor. Then Spinelis claimed that the collecting Directorate at the Ministry of Finance has not enforced the fines imposed on well known owners of fuel companies, although they were confirmed by control authorities. In his testimony in the case, Kapeleris claims that the uncollected amounts are not the result of fines, but the result of a problem in the management of the "IFESTOS" system which detects irregularities in the fuel trade. He points out that if the 15 million were collected one way or another, this would lead to the closure of 3000 gas stations throughout the country. Therefore, Kapelaris has issued a Circular to "freeze" the collection of fines, while the process is traced.

Evangelia Pantazi, who is the Head of the Customs supervisionwill also be called to the stand, . She and Kapeleris will have to give explanations again, however this time before a criminal prosecutor in the District Court, Athens. If during their testimony names of politicians "come up", the case will be transferred to the National Assembly. Both defendants come within the provisions of law 1608, Article 50 related to treason against the state and actions to the detriment of public property, which carries a punishment of life imprisonment.

Tags: Crime news smuggling corruption Greece Kapeleris
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