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A trade unionist with an off-shore company

05 January 2014 / 16:01:35  GRReporter
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Trade unionist Rizos Rizos has been charged with money laundering, since the sum of 750,547.84 euro has been discovered in his accounts. Besides these charges, he has already been charged with fraud with aggravating circumstances according to law 1608 for civil servants, which provides for a life imprisonment sentence. His daughters, Christiana and Ioanna, who own an offshore company, are also involved.

Up to now, crimes of the trade union leader include "donations" from the Public Power Corporation DEI to unionists used for foreign travel and luxury hotels for foreign colleagues, totalling 1,160,470.40 euro. Members of DEI, trade unionists, and officials of the Organization of public events of the company are also defendants in the same criminal case proceedings, since they had signed permissions for these expenses during the investigation period (1999-2010). According to Ethnos newspaper, 750,547.84 euro has been discovered in a previously unknown "money-box" of Rizos and the accusation against him is heightening. This dirty money was found in Cyprus in two accounts of an offshore company which is owned by the trade union leader and his two daughters, who have also been charged. 

According to investigators, there is evidence that the money in those accounts comes from frauds related to DEI’s "sponsorship" to trade unionists, which have caused damage to the Greek state amounting to 1,160,470.40 euro. Four luxury apartments of the Rizos family in Athens, estimated at the abovementioned amount, have been frozen.

A party that cost millions

The findings of the anti-money laundering service, which has searched accounts and assets of the Rizos family, have been added to the charges for damages to the Public Power Corporation due to a party which cost millions of euro during the period 1999-2010. Former employees of the company, trade unionists and other staff are also involved, since they signed invoices of tremendous value for various events of trade unions, many of which have not even taken place.

According to investigators, the income of Rizos and his daughters is only enough to cover their living needs. According to information, Rizos declared incomes to the amount of 30,356 euro in 2013, while his daughters - 5,160 euro and 4,700 euro, respectively.

The most important discovery in this case is the offshore company ARCELOR LTD, registered in Belize, with an address in Lefkosia, Cyprus. It is owned by Rizos Rizos, Christiana Rizou and Ioanna Rizou. The following was discovered in the two accounts of the company:

1. 650,547.84 euro in the bank account at EUROBANK CYPRUS LTD. The account was opened on 23 January 2013. It is a fixed term account and expires on 23 January 2014.

2. 100,000 euro in an account at the same bank of the same company has also been discovered. The account was opened on 22 February 2013 and expires on 22 February 2014.

According to investigators, this is dirty money which the account holders have tried to hide behind the banking secrecy and the anonymity of the offshore company.

Freezing of property

Since investigators cannot freeze accounts in a foreign country, they have frozen property which is estimated at the same amount: 1. An apartment of 290.50 sq. m., with additional areas of 189.49 sq. m. in Voula, Attica, belonging to Rizos Rizos; 2. An apartment of 119.08 sq. m. with additional rooms of 15 sq. m. in the municipality of Zografou, Athens, belonging to Christina Rizou; 3. An apartment of 25.24 sq. m. with additional rooms of 15 sq. m. in Zografou municipality belonging to Christina Rizou; 4. An apartment of 126.70 sq. m. with additional areas of 5 sq. m. in Athens municipality belonging to Ioanna Rizou.

The technician who was considered to be part of the management

Trade unionist Rizos Rizos, who has been chief or organizational secretary of the largest trade union in Greece for 18 years, has even been considered "executive director."

He was appointed at DEI in 1972 at the age of 19 as a technician. Today, aged 60, Rizos had managed to retire 6 years ago, but remained at the company and insisted on being a trade unionist.

He was not known to the general public until the scandal with the trips which broke out in 2012. At the time, investigators discovered that his two daughters were involved in activities for thousands of euro, such as the organization of a congress of the Federation of Trade Unions and doing research.

According to his colleagues, Rizos is a respected man whose words carry weight in the company. He has the necessary qualities to be a unionist. During strikes of trade unions, he cut off the power, entered into offices of the company bosses and ministers, interrupting meetings and pulled the strings in the largest state-owned company.

He belongs to the political Left. Synaspismos and SYRIZA supported him in trade unions until early 2011, when he was expelled from the party. At the time, his activities outside the trade union resulted in charges against him. According to revelations of the investigation, he participates in the mobile telephony and energy services company ENCOM (belonging to one of his daughters), as well as in a property company and an advertising company. He denied the charges.

Nikos Fotopoulos

Tags: Public Power Corporation DEI Rizos Rizos trade unions abuse dirty money
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