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Austerity hits Greek Corruption, too – Fakelaki Price List in times of Recession

IMF /EU imposed austerity measures have hit not only employees, pensioners and entrepreneurs. The strong recession also dumped the prices in the corruption prices lists.  Doctors and Tax officers saw themselves forced to lower the prices for infamous  but famous Greek fakelaki* as their ‘customers’ declared economic unable to be as generous as they used to be in the past.

According to the price list of  the Greek branch of Transparency International  a operation at a state hospital could bring the surgeon  €7,500, and a ‘friendly deal’ in the tax office can make somebody richer up to 15,000 euros – taxes and recipes excluded, it is understood.

The TI survey reveals that health patients spend €150-7,000 for surgical operations, while tax patients spend €300-15,000 for accounting books check-up and regular control.

In the private sector leaders in corruption are again the health services personel, followed by lawyers and bank employees.

However the TI recorded a dramatic decline in the number of household reporting corruption incidents. Corruption fell from 13.4 % in 2009, down to 10.4 % in 2010. The total estimated sums  that changed hands under the table fell from 787 million euro in 2009 down to 623 million euro in 2010.

 As in previous years, hospitals remained the undisputed corruption ‘champions’, while tax offices outstripped town planning bureaus (which issue building permits) for second place, following a significant slump in building activity and measures to ‘legalise’ unlawful building conversions.

The survey contacted among 6.114 people showed also that 92% of the asked consider the Greek society as “corrupted”.  

Corruption Price List

Public Hospitals:  Surgery/Operation  150 – 7,500 euro    Doctor/fakelaki          50 – 1,500 euro
Tax offices:  Books/closing/control  300 -15,000 euro Debt adjustment  100 – 3,500

Planning Offices:  Building permission 200 – 9,000 euro  Procedures accelaration  500 – 1,00 euro

Private Health Services: Surgery/operation 250 – 15,000 euro  Doctor/fakelaki 500 – 6,000 euro

No wonder that the state does not manage to collect its revenue by combating the tax evasion. No matter how many controllers are on the way, if the moral goes bathing, nothing will change.

* Fakelaki  (little envelope) is the notorious Greek habit where a citizen stuffs money in an envelope and passes it under the table to civil servants in order to get public services. Fakelaki  or little pusher, helps to secure appointments and health services, to have documents, permits and licences issued. Fakelaki is considered to be a plague for the economy as revenues from it are not declared in income declarations. It is claimed to be an excellent way for giver and receiver ‘excempt’ Value Added Tax. HA! With three VAT hikes in lass than ten months in 2010 and  wages/pensions decreases of 30-40% who wants to pay VAT?

(news sources: Athens News Agency, NewsBeast and others)

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