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Summoned to a sacred investigation

25 November 2012 / 18:11:59  GRReporter
3227 reads

It turns out that the bishops of Thessaliotida and Peristeri, Kirill and Chrisostomos, have rather 'fat' bank accounts, which are far from the income and property status they have declared to the tax authorities. The Office for Investigation of Economic Crimes is on the trail of this dirty money, and so far it has found millions of euros in the bank accounts of the bishops, who were summoned to give an explanation for the origin of the funds. A source from the tax administration revealed that the inspection was completed and a file with the findings was created; also, the two suspects of tax evasion were summoned to provide documents proving that these accounts comply with their revenues. Their files contain information about property of the two bishops' relatives because of suspicions that in order to cover their tracks, they have transferred some of the money to their relatives. In parallel, the site zougla.gr revealed that another senior priest, a metropolitan of a large municipality in Attica, is being investigated by the department for economic crime for wasting funds from donations.

The investigation began after allegations against bishops of tax evasion, misuse of donations, unreported income from the exploitation of property or investments. A responsible figure in the investigation said that the large fish jumped out after the opening of the bank accounts, and stressed that the investigation is expanding throughout Greece, as there is evidence of dark tax affairs by other priests of high status in the hierarchy of the church. We intend to examine reports of dozens of priests in rich bishop's residences, but the main motive is the lifting of bank secrecy.

In parallel, services are aiming at large amounts of donations that have been declared in the tax returns of individuals who completed them, as well as at funds donated by the faithful to restore churches and as aids to the poor. So far, the number of people involved is 180. The fact that at least 25 - 30 priests from Farsala will be summoned to the tax authorities of Thessaly to provide explanations for donations amounting to more than 1.2 million euro is indicative.

Donations to the icons have been made from 2004 to 2010. For their donations, donors received certificates with the help of which they were granted remission of taxes, giving 10% of the amount to the church. According to the information, 7% of it went directly into the pockets of the priests, and the remaining 3% - to the accountants who participated in the affair. A typical example is the tax return of a manufacturer from Larissa, who declared a donation of 40,000 euro to the church in Farsala. However, the amount was not found in the relevant declarations of the bishopric.

Tags: bishops donations tax evasion bank accounts
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