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Greek Minister Angela Gerekou Quits Over Husband’S £4.7M Tax Bill

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Interesting Times article on how Greeks are coping with double dip -www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article7129624.ece

Greek minister Angela Gerekou quits over husband’s £4.7m tax bill

As Greece took stock of its budget catastrophe, its glamorous deputy tourism minister – once a model for Playboy – promised that she, like everyone else, could live a life of austerity.

“The measures are painful for everyone,” said Angela Gerekou, a protégée of the Prime Minister George Papandreou, in March.

But now she has been forced to resign as her husband, one of Greece’s best-known nightclub singers, faces criminal prosecution over €5.5 million (£4.7 million) of unpaid taxes.

Tolis Voskopoulos, 70, who has starred in films including My Brothers, Footloose Tramps and Marijuana Stop!, was exposed by a daily newspaper this week as owing the huge sum in taxes and fines.

It is the latest embarrassment for a Government that swept to power in October last year promising to clean up the corruption that has helped to take Greece to the verge of bankruptcy.

Mr Voskopoulos and Ms Gerekou, 51, had filed joint tax declarations for many years, but a government statement on her resignation said that Ms Gerekou claimed to have no knowledge of her husband’s tax affairs.

“Angela Gerekou submitted her resignation out of sensitivity and to avoid causing any damage to the Government,” the statement said.

Last week the Greek Government launched a high-profile campaign against what the Prime Minister called “a culture of tax evasion”.

It published the names of 60 doctors and dentists who faced legal action for under-reporting their incomes, and said it would use satellite photos to locate swimming pools that could be a sign of undeclared wealth.

“This idea that you’re a successful tough guy if you evade taxes and deceive the state has got to change,” Mr Papandreou said last week.

Ms Gerekou had initially refused to comment on revelations of her husband’s tax status in the liberal daily newspaper Eleftherotypia, and a government spokesman claimed yesterday that it was a private matter.

However, the Finance Ministry has now taken up the case, freezing Mr Voskopoulos’s real estate assets and investigating with a view to a criminal prosecution.

“Measures taken to collect this big amount have obviously not been sufficient,” the ministry said.

Mr Voskopoulos had a series of hits in the 1960s and 1970s, most famously the 1969 song Agony. He lives with Ms Gerekouin Corfu, where he frequently gives charity concerts.

Greece receives the first slice of its €110 billion rescue package later today, just in time to prevent it defaulting on its debts.

The country’s budget crisis forced other eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund to step in and create the bailout package.

In exchange, the Greek Government has promised to cut salaries and pensions, raise consumer taxes, and crack down on tax evasion and corruption.

Protests over the austerity measures turned to violent rioting earlier this month, and on May 3 three people died in a fire at a bank that had been firebombed by protesters.

Ms Gerekou is the second member of Mr Papandreou’s cabinet to be forced to quit. In December, the deputy interior minister stepped down amid claims that he had tried to secure favours for army and police officers.

On the Troktiko blog, one contributor wrote: “Shame, shame, shame. I asked the tax office for a week to pay my dues and it said no, but they got off the hook for 17 years. The rest of us are all idiots.”

Greek Taxation.jpg


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Tolis Voskopoulos, 70.

I take it she isnt.

maybe the taxpayer will look attractive to her as he presses his starving face up to the restaurant window, as she tucks into her dinner paid for by the same starving face, i mean, the guy she married WASNT the provider of the largesse, it was the starving man at the window...

Edited by Bloo Loo
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