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Trade unionists: Yianna Angelopoulou declares her villa as a shopping centre to pay lower electricity bills

15 October 2012 / 22:10:19  GRReporter
5178 reads

One of the wealthiest Greek families has registered its luxury villa in the Athens suburb of Paleo Psychico as a shopping centre to reduce not only the extra property tax, but the cost of electricity as well.

This is the villa of "Mrs. Olympic Games Athens 2004" Yianna Angelopoulou and her husband Theodoros Angelopoulos with an area of 4,695 square metres. Instead of paying for electricity at the prices applicable to all households, the owners of the villa have been paying for their electricity at the lower prices determined for shopping centres, dressmaking shops and hospitals. The data were reported by the chairman of the union of employees in the Greek electricity company DEI, Nikos Fotopoulos.

The villa is known for the famous parties, which the Angelopoulos couple organized a few years ago. During one of those parties, the fireworks fired set fire to a small forest nearby.

According to an article in "To proto thema" newspaper, the difference between the two rates of electricity prices is very high. "Things are very simple. The electricity company loses a bunch of money that it would have received if the rate for household consumption was valid in this case," the popular trade unionist said in an interview for the edition.

The electricity consumption of the villa - "palace" is about 50,000 kWh per month. For comparison, the average consumption per household is 1,700 kWh for four months. By using the reduced rate, the Angelopoulos family pays between 0.05 and 0.06 euro per kWh, whereas an average household pays between 0.06 and 0.09 euro per kWh (for the first 2,000 kWh).

This means that the loss to the electricity company in the case of the villa of the otherwise wealthy family is over 5,000 euro every four months.

As stated in a publication of the online edition iefimerida.gr, the losses to the state are not only due to the cheaper electricity, but also to the lower extra property tax. The Angelopoulos have been paying less and in a legal way, referring to a legal text of the Ministry of Finance that dates back to the time when the current leader of PASOK Evangelos Venizelos headed the Ministry.

The law stipulates that the coefficient for the calculation of the tax on real estate of non-residential use and of an area of ​​over 1,000 square metres is to be reduced by 30%, for the portion above the area set and, for properties of over 2,000 square metres, by 60% for the area above this floorage.

So, the Angelopoulos family pays a tax of 51,115 euro instead of 86,388 euro thus saving about 35,000 euro per year.

According to Nikos Fotopoulos, this is not the only such case. The GENOP-DEI trade union argues that during their "invasion" into the data centre of the company last week, they found "data on a large number of people having significant financial resources and paying much lower taxes." Nikos Fotopoulos accused Evangelos Venizelos of "allowing wealthy people owning large real estate to take advantage of great discounts in the value of the extra tax." Unionists submitted the data to the prosecution last Friday.

Meanwhile, it became clear over the weekend that tax authorities have been investigating 1,750 cases of sales of real estate, for which not a single euro has been paid in taxes. According to the findings of the Eleftheros Tipos newspaper, the property belonged to former deputies, lawyers, engineers, marine contractors and prominent businessmen. The data are for 2011 and cover mainly large urban areas of Athens, Thessaloniki and Piraeus. Tax authorities have found that although there is evidence for effected real estate transactions, the persons on the list of the 1,750 did not declare them at the end of the year.

In an effort to facilitate and improve the collection of property tax, the ministry is considering establishing a single tax on real estate, irrespective of whether it is a case of business facilities and buildings owned by physical persons or land. The goal is to repeal the extra property tax, which came into force in 2011. The government expects the new form of tax to bring three billion euro revenue into the state treasury.

Tags: PoliticsYianna AngelopoulouElectricity bills
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