Posts Tagged ‘corruption’

What? Surgeon in public hospital arrested for ‘fakelaki’? Not possible…

July 10, 2014

Ι am afraid there is no cure for this country and the people. Greek media report that police arrested a heart surgeon and department chief at one of Athens biggest public hospitals for demanding bribe for a surgery. A famous fakelaki of 500 euro. The patient informed the police and the story ended in the surgeon’s arrest and suspension from duty. He faces felony charges.

“The surgeon was caught in flagranti with the marked banknotes on him, He kept a book with notes of money he had received and distributed [to other doctors] as well.”

In the report of state TV NERIT, a citizen said that “if the doctors receiving good salaries they couldn’t ask for bribes and we wouldn’t give.”

To tell you the truth nobody is surprised. The practice of public hospital doctors to demand from patients black money in an envelope -therefore the name ‘fakelaki’, i.e. little envelope – is as old as the public hospitals and the public services.

Four years of economic crisis, over-taxation and reforms in Greek hospitals have changed nothing. At least. they changed nothing in the deep-rooted mentality of bribe and corruption among the public servants.

The good news is that the tariffs for fakelaki were decreased due to the crisis – but that could be just a rumor….

A 59-year-old heart surgeon and department chief at one of Athens’s biggest public hospitals, Evangelismos, has been arrested after demanding that a patient pay him 1,500 euros for surgery that had been deemed life-saving, police reported on Thursday.

According to the unnamed male patient who filed the complaint, he had been rushed to the hospital after suffering a heart attack and was told he needed immediate surgery.

The surgeon, who headed the department where the patient was being treated, demanded 1,500 euros for the surgery to go ahead, according to the report. When the patient appeared reluctant to pay up, the surgeon allegedly threatened to have him discharged without performing the procedure.

After some negotiation, the doctor agreed to an upfront payment of 500 euros in order to schedule the surgery at once. A relative of the patient delivered the money in marked notes after the police became involved. (ekathimerini)

The investigation also found that the same doctor had demanded money from another patient in May.


Sorry seems to be the hardest word!

June 17, 2010

Amid the song and dance of famous “Wedding Party on a Battleship” – the AVEROF, you know… -, which became talk of the country, I forgot, or better say, I didn’t catch up with other important news and issues that affect crisis-suffering Greeks. You may have understood by now that one of my blogging hobbies is the corruption-related scandals of politicians,  bribes of state officials , tax evasions of famous singers.

Here is the point where I have to make a confession. It is much more spicy to do my research about the “Bold and Beautiful” of local High Society & Showbiz than to write about the “Old Boys” in local Politics  like Tsochatzopoulos,  Mantelis or even Vourloumis.

Blogging about the Greek VIPs turns my grey life into a colorful one: the pictures are joyful, the stories light, the heels high, the sand golden and the sea blue…  Even if the stories end up in political resignation (Gerekou) or insult history (Averof-Part).

Thus these stories/pictures have a didactic purpose as well: I can see how hair extensions can totally change my image, how extreme surgery can ruin my face, how shiny make up can potentially grant me a reduction by the local deli.  

On the contrary, blogging  about  Old Boys – broken men in their 70’s – appearing in their grey/blue business suits turn my grey life into black. They cause psychological harm, they trigger the ultimate depression. Not only in terms of colors.

These stories are depressing because these old boys have ‘sweetened’ their own life and  ‘kicked back’ mine. Because they are still walk around. Because they are still among us!!!

As Sir Elton John predicted years ago “Sorry seems to be the hardest word!”

Vourloumis: CEO of Greek Telecom faces criminal charges

June 11, 2010

CEO of Hellenic Telecommunications Organization  (OTE), Panagis Vourloumis, 73, will face criminal prosecution on accusations of corruption practices state news agency ANA-MPE reported Friday.

He is accused of ” infidelity and overpriced contracts concluded  in the 2003-2007 period. The contracts were signed with companies like  SIEMENS , ANKO and INTRACOM’.

Under the decree, the price of those contracts was much higher than  the one calculated by the management of OTE.

The degree is the conclusion of  preliminary examination, which started two years ago in response to press reports.

The Greek state has an 20% stake in Hellenic Telecoms and Deutsche Telekom AG (DT) has a 30% holding.

SIEMENS Bribery Scandal: Open bank accounts

June 9, 2010

The photo below is wrong!


The Parliamentary examination committee investigating the Siemens bribery scandal asks the opening of 18 bank accounts belonging to natural and legal persons, including financiers and well-known businessmen

The examination committe sent a letter Wednesday to Mr. George Provopoulos, governor of the Bank of Greece, Mr. John Kapeleri, Special Secretary of Financial Crime, Mr Stelios Grozos, chairman of the Committee to Combat Trafficking and Black Money Mr. Anastasios Gavriilidis, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, requesting verification of all bank accounts “of natural and legal persons (offshore and non-offshore companies) that are fed by ‘feeder accounts’, which were issued in the name of an offshore company (Martha Overseas, Martha Holdings, Placid Blue, Fairways Estates).
These companies were controlled by executives Siemens Hellas (Prodromos Mavridis, Michael Christoforakos and intermediaries, such as Alexandros Letsas and George Kaldis Lecce) and used for bribering state officials and politicians in Greece (SIEMENS Black Funds) ». 

List of holders of the 18 bank accounts to be opened here (in Greek)

Oddly enough non of the bank account holders is a politicians. According to investigation report of Fincance Ministry Control Body names of politicians and journalists, who had recied ‘gifts’ by Michalis Christoforakos were erased via Tipp-Ex (correction ink).
According to greek media SIEMENS has spent 10.000.000 Euros in bribery.
Tasos Mantelis, the ex-Minister of Transportation, got only half a million  … sponsorship! (see related post in this blog)


Pandora’s Scandal Box

June 9, 2010

This is NOT a Nigeria Spam! This is NOT a Nigeria Spam!



Hello Dear!

My name is Pandora. I am the wife of  late Mr. Cor  Ruption, ex  deputy and former Minister from Greece. 

My late husband, God bless him in Heaven, was very rich. He had to pass away when investigators entered our home one night. 

Now I am sitting alone in one of our luxury apartments, not knowing what to do.

I am in possession of  many Million Euros and lots of expensive properties.

My late husband- before vanished – advised me to get rid of all our moveable and immovable assets.

In fact I have to get rid of them as soon as possible.

My special offer to you, at no cost from your side, is:  € 10.000.000 in cash and  deeds for apartments totalling 3.000 sq.m., swimming pools excluded.

I don’t dare to ask you to give me your account. 

Account-to-account transfer is something my late husband, God bless him in Heaven, always advised me to avoid.

If you agree to the hand over, please, let me know.

I will come to your place.

It is easy for you to recognize me.  I will be holding a box.

Right! Pandora’s box!

Anticipating hearing from you immediately.Thanks and God bless.
Best Regards

Pandora Cor. Ruption



Greeks: Fed up with Scandals & Corruption!

May 30, 2010

Greeks: Fed up with Scandals and Corruption

“They should go …@@@” The insult coming out of my neighbor’s lips is unprintable. Giwrgos has just put aside the Sunday newspaper.

“Every day we read about a new scandal, today I see at least 5” he says as he grabs again the newspaper from the coffee table to show me what he means.

Corruption, corruption, corruption. That’s all I read and hear. And nobody ever goes to prison”. Giwrgos is real upset now. He spins in his chair, then pops up and walks half around the table, changes direction and heads to balcony fence. He grabs it with both hands till his fingers turn white.

Giwrgos, salesman in a big company, is one of the millions of Greeks facing an uncertain future. His wife lost her job last February. His two children 14 & 16 go to school. He will have to support financially his mother, who suffers under her pension cut.

Giwrgos’s future is black: “My salary is frozen; there are rumors in the company that there will be dismissals”.

Giwrgos sees red: “These …..@@@(another insult) don’t give a dam! Nobody brings the money back, nobody goes to prison!”

Bring the (stolen) money back!” is the slogan of the days. As scandal over scandal is revealed day by day, millions of ‘”Giwrgos” are getting more and more angry about having to tie their belts, while those, who got their hands in millions of public money, go unpunished.

“We pay and pay and they live like Kings!” If Giwrgos could, he wouldn’t pay a single cent on taxes, he says. “I pay and they live in luxury and buy properties… @@@ (another insult)”

Corruption and ‘sponsorships’ (see: Mantelis case) wasn’t a secret. Theodoros Pangalos, Deputy Prime Minister, said in an interview TO VIMA newspaper:

“When I talked during Simitis government (note: 1996-2004) about corruption, I wasn’t necessarily talking about the corruption of party officials. I saw corruption. I was touching it; in the sense that the victims of corruption would come to see me and protest”.

Mr. Pangalos seems to have known exactly what Greeks had suspected all these years. Pangalos never named the persons involved, never openly spoke. Did Pangalos do anything to hinder corruption? I don’t know…

Corruption in Greece was an open secret. During the last two years of Karamanlis government (2004-2009), Greeks saw with outrage Ministers featuring their high-speed yachts on Facebook, Ministers buying the one luxury property after the other, Ministers enjoy a high life in the ultra expensive restaurants of Athens. Greeks saw Ministers buy properties in the ‘noble’ resorts of Mykonos and Araxova, the sea & mountain resorts of the national Bold & Beautiful.

Governing stopped being a Mission, it became a LifeStyle!

Weekly Proto Thema, in a series we could call “The Ministers’ Properties” reveals the luxury properties owned by former Ministers of Greek Governments, bought in the years when the country was diving deep into debt. The value of the cheapest property, as I read, is at least € 1 million.

Giwrgos has not chance to become a Minister. He will remain a salesman, maybe a jobless salesman with no chance for a descent pension. Giwrgos lives with his family in an 84 square meters flat. He bought it with a loan. If he loses his job, he might lose his home as well.

Greeks’ tolerance grade has touched ZERO. Thirsty Greeks want to see blood (Confiscations) and social justice (Punishment).

Quoting Giwrgos again…. “@@@!”.

“Rocco” is Here to Stay….

May 27, 2010

Rocco & His Brothers

Tasos Mantelis, ex Greek Minister ‘sponshored’ by SIEMENS, has not left for Azerbaijan, where he works as  Chief  Advisor at the TACIS Project.

Tasos Mantelis is among us.  I just saw him on ALTER TV. He said he will stay in Greece.

But even  if he would like to leave , this is forbidden by a prosecutor’s decision. For money laundering. Tasos Mantelis is not allowed to leave the country.

Prosecutor John Sakelakos pronounced  charges against the former Minister, based on yesterday’s testimony in the Parliament’s inquiry on the Siemens-case.

Apparently the prosecutor has enough data to accuse Mr. Mantelis for ‘legalizing income from illegal activity’. Is this what we, common people & journalists, call “money laundering“?

­stacks of cash­

Money laundering typically involves transferring money

through several countries in order to obscure its origins

I wonder if Mr. Mantelis has paid his taxes for the sponsorship.

Hereby I need  to mention that the prosecutor’s EXIT-FORBIDDEN was issued 24 hours later than Mantelis’s confession and not immediately after . The pressure from public and media was more than immense.

According to Greek Prime Time News, SIEMENS has spent some  10.000.000 Euro in Sponsorships.

More about the Mantelis’s case and  SIEMENS’s SPONSORSHIP :

Tasos Mantelis: Rocco & His Greek Brothers… or Relatives….

May 26, 2010

Tasos Mantelis, Minister of Transport back in 1998 under Simitis Governement, does not resample a tiny bit the young & vulnerable Alain Delon (Rocco Parondi) in the famous 1960 Visconti film “Rocco & His Brothers”.

Tasos Mantelis looks more like the bully Renato Salvatori (Simone Parondi), Rocco’s brother in the film.

Yet Tasos Mantelis seems to feel emotionally closer to family-loving Rocco. Rocco steps back from the heart of a woman for the sake of Simone. Rocco would do everything to keep his family whole.

Tasos Mantelis identifies himself clearly with Rocco, and distances from Simone, who rapes and murders Nadia (Annie Girardot).

Mantelis would share his account with his best man and his daughter, Mantelis would transfer money to his son…. If only this money wasn’t SIEMENS’s  ‘sponsorship money’ to a Greek Minister on duty!


Who, the hell, is “Rocco” and “A. Roccos”?

Tasos Mantelis  admited earlier today in front of the investigation committee of the Greek Parliament, that he had opened bank accounts to deposit ‘sponsorship money’ from the infamous SIEMENS, involved in a worldwide bribery scandal.

Certainly Mr. Mantelis would not have come out with a single word, if it wasn’t his close friend and best man, Giwrgos Tsougranis, confessing yesterday before the investigation committee that he (Tsougranis) had opened accounts for the SIEMENS money.

Rocco & His Greek Relatives

According to confessions of Best Man Tsougranis, he opened an account under the name A.Rocco at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Geneva branch, in Switzerland. Tsougranis allegedly later added a co-account holder, Mantelis’s daughter.

1998 and before the upcoming election, Mantelis  informed him that he is in urgent need of sponsorship because his election campaign costs. The best man and friend opened a bank account, which appeared retrospectively that had two co-owners: Rocco  & A. Rocco.

This account received two money transfers:

One of DM 200.000 &

One of DM 250.00  —  total DM 450.000.-

Tsougranis confessed further that he transferred to an account of ALPHA Bank/Athens the amount of € 163.000. 

Apparently from the DM 200.000 transfer, two sub-transfers go to a bank account belonging to X.M., who claimed to be Mantelis’ son, a student at Columbia University in New York. The two transfers totaling € 35.000.

Sponsoring a Minister

Giwrgos Tsougranis didn’t omit to confess that when he asked Mantelis where the first transfer money came from, the then Minister answered him, that it was ‘sponsorship money from SIEMENS”. Tsougranis did not know where the 2nd money transfer of DM 250.000 came from.

In 1997 Tasos Mantelis, being Minister of Transport, signed on the part of the State the Framework Agreement between the Greek State and SIEMENS for the supply of digital telephone centers for the national telephone company OTE.

Italian Neorealism vs. Greek Surrealism

Visconti’s tragical film, a typical artifact of Italian Neorealism, ends with no substantive resolution between Rocco and his brother Simone. Yet the clouds of doom will keep hanging over the family long after on the film appears THE END.

In Tasos Mantelis case things lay differently. Mantelis most probably will not be brought to justice because his crime (receiving ‘sponsorship’ by a private company) has been timely ‘barred’. But the social outcry will be hanging forever over his head and his family. If he gives a euro-cent about it!

Important Note: Information Sources

Mantelis – Tsougranis: Greek Media

Rocco and His Brothers: wikipedia

I accept Sponsorships, Donations & Ads. Thank you!

Greece: Maria has committed a ‘financial crime’…

May 9, 2010

Hand With Euro Isolated On White Free Stock Photo

Maria P., 75, has just completed an angiogram and an ECG test at a private hospital in Athens. Angio and ECG are part of some eight to ten medical tests she has to undergo in order to find the reason for her “thing”. “I get a… thing” she says, “and nobody can explain where it comes from”.

The “thing” is a sudden tremor that grabs her body from time to time. Her legs and hands start shaking, her body gets stiff and freezing cold, freezing, her mouth gets dry, her eyes are open wide. Maria cries and screams at her daughter for help. She is in panic! As the panic slowly relieves, the daughter finds herself literally laying on top her mother’s in a struggling effort to calm her down and keep her warm.

The family doctor, who was called twice, blamed some pills that Maria takes for her chronic illness.  But he was not sure…

The daughter decides to consult some experts and find the best solution for her mother. The two women visit one of the state hospitals in Athens. There, they are told to come back when Maria has her seizures. This is a difficult, if not unmanageable task…

They consult again the family doctor. He has no clue but finally prescribes a series of medical tests. If the tests are performed at the clinics of IKA (State Social Security) Maria will most probably pay nothing or her financial contribution will be small. But IKA has a weird appointment system: One has to wait at least three weeks to get an appointment by a doctor. Maria and her daughter calculate that it will take them at least six months to find out what the issue is with the “thing”.
They decide to grab on Maria’s savings and go to a private hospital. Maria’s pension after 35 years of work is € 600.- ($763) per month. After expenses for food and home utilities there is not a single cent left at the end of every month. Maria had managed to save some 10.000 Euro for difficult times, like sickness, and her funeral.

So here they sit, Maria and her daughter, at cardiologist’s office at the private hospital. The doctor, a beauty at her middle 30’s, is very careful with the old and fragile lady. Maria has to consult an endocrinologist. The doctor suspects that  Maria suffers from hypothyroidism, a common disease among elderly.

The two women are not comfortable with hospital payment procedures so they ask the doctor about. “If you pay me directly it is 50, if at the cashier…  it will cost you 120 Euro”, the doctor answers calmly.

Without a second though Maria opens her wallet and hands out a 50-Euro note to the doctor. The doctor takes the brown paper money and hides it in her book agenda with  a soft move hides.  She smiles a goodbye to Maria and her daughter.

Maria completes the necessary medical tests at the hospital and the result is clear; she   suffers from hypothyroidism. It will be easily cured with tablets.

At the end of the month, Maria gets rid of her “thing” and 750 E of her savings. The receipts she collected in the process however over only 600 of the expenses. Had she insisted for receipts for all her medical expenses she would have spent at least 180 – 200  Euros more.

What would you have done, if you were Maria?

Today I read in the Greek newspaper Eleytherotypia that  3 out of 10 Greeks pay ‘fakelaki’ (bribes) to doctors working not only in public nut also in  private sector.

In year 2009 Maria spent 2.100 Euro from her savings to cover medical expenses, including a new dental bridge.

This year Maria realizes that her pension will be cut by 35%.  

Every evening, Maria sits in front of TV, yoghurt and two slices of bread at the coffee table to watch the Prime Time News. Maria listens speechless about the billions owed by the state and asks herself, like millions of Greeks, “Where did the money go?” She listens in awe about the new austerity measures, the VAT and tax increases and wonders how she will come along with her pension.

 Very often she watches the Minister in charge of cutting her pension.  She curses and she is glad nobody is around to listen.

 Maria worries about her future.  Maria worries but she won’t get panicked anymore. Against panic, she swallows every morning a small anti-thyroid tablet.

Greece: Economy Collapse – Who is crying? Not the Civil Servants!

April 22, 2010

Economy Collapses – Who is crying over there? Not the Civil Servants!

The economic collapse for Greece is officially here, this very sunny Thursday, 22nd of April, year 2010. Higher budget deficit, higher spreads and ratings downgrading force Greece to ask officially the emergency loans from EU and IMF. As soon as possible? No! Yesterday!

The EU’s Statistics office, Eurostat, revealed the budget deficit of Greece as 32,34 billion (32.340.000.000) Euros, i.e. 13,6 % of Gross Domestic Product for the year 2009.
The markets pushed the 10-year bond yield up to 8.79 %. A fact that makes it unattractive for the Mediterranean country to gets credits and loans from the free market.
Within hours the Moody’s Ratings Agency cut the credit rating to A3 from A2, not excluding further possible downgrade. The markets seem to have an endogenous mistrust towards Greece’s accounting procedures and ability to pay back credits.

News Like a Bomb! Who cares?

The news fell like a bomb amid the general one-day strike of tens of thousands public workers protesting the austerity measures announced by the Greek government a while ago. But you think Greek public servants were scared or hurt by the bomb explosion? I can tell you, no, they weren’t.

Having attended thousands of protests myself when I was younger, I can tell you what happens when the protest is over.

When the protest is over… the party begins!

Some go shopping, some go to their kitchen & kids, but many end up in small restaurants drowning their fighting spirit in real spirits.

By Ouzo and Wine and mouth-watering starters the exhausted and –meanwhile hungry – protesters soothe their feet on a bistro chair and start exchanging views and make plans about their fighting future, about blocking further salary and bonuses cuts, even about organizing a possible uprising against any plan to impose additional measures if demanded by the International Monetary Fund.

When I was younger, at the last months of junta and the years after, we were protesting for more freedom, for more rights, for more air to breathe.

Nowadays the civil servants protest for no more government’s spending cuts. They consider the 30% cuts on their bonuses as more than enough.

The civil servants in Greece constitute a special caste of their own. Their number varies between 800.000 – 1.200.000 people. But even the official statistics can tell you exactly how many they are. Or how many hours do they work – if they work at all, if they go to work and for how many hours per day. Or what work do they do.

You might see a female civil servant having a contract, let’s say as an ‘asphalt worker’. Of course, the lady doesn’t wake up every morning at 6 to go on the streets and shovel asphalt. No, the lady sits in an office, preferably from 9 to 13. Or is it 9 to 12? She only happened to have gotten her job as permanent civil worker through a … friend or a relative or a friend of a friend or even through direct contact with a politician or parliament deputy, who definitely wants to be reelected in the next legislative period.
But why ‘asphalt worker’, you will ask? It is simple! Because that was the only ‘official’ job available in the area where our ‘money shoveling’ lady was living.

I have a friend, she is civil worker. Last year she decided deliberately she works too much after 24 years in service, so she decided to cut her duty hours. From 36 hours/week, she went down to 25. This year she works hardly 20 hours, some weeks even less. Her salary remains, of course, the same. Nobody controls the unit where she works. It is not only her!
I assume, the whole unit, 6-7 people, work deliberately “part time” and are paid “whole time”. There is simply and absolutely no control.

I know also another one, who takes one day off per week to clean her house. 56 days per year with the official leave being only 27 days!

They both justify the reduction in working time as “official and legitimate leave”.

The absence of any control in the public administration, the corruption and scandals, the salaries and almost tax-free bonuses of the civil servants have created a huge salary gasp and animosity within the Greek society. The private sector is under immense economic pressure with the markets to have dried out , with the unemployment on the rise and the future from ‘uncertain’ to ‘pessimistic’.

You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs

Can the civil servants blackmail the Government? Yes and No!

The civil servants build the voters basis of the two big political parties, the socialist PASOK and the right Nea Dimokratia, governing Greece for the last 36 years. If the current PASOK government breaks with its civil servants, it will find millions of non-civil servants Greeks voting for them. Yes? The answer could turn negative again. It is difficult for a government that brought the IMF and recession in the country to win another election. But if PM Papandreou breaks the eggs (civil servants and their rights) millions of Greeks might be willing to applaud him.

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