Greece’s Economy Police proceeds unabated to the detention of big scale public debtors and on Monday afternoon the CEO of the privately-owned Alter television channel Kostas Yiannikos was arrested by the financial crime squad of the Finance Ministry (SDOE) for failing to pay 1.2 million euro in VAT since the start of 2011.
Yiannikos was arrested with the procedure for someone caught in the act of committing a criminal offence and will be led before a public prosecutor to be charged on Tuesday, based on the evidence against him.
If the charges brought against him are for a criminal offence, the case file will be assigned to an examining magistrate and Yiannikos will then have to appear before the magistrate.
Last month, Alter TV had to cancel all live programmes, including news broadcast, because the management has failed to pay salaries to journalists, technical and administrative staff since a couple of months. In August, the network ownership had submitted a request for bankruptcy. Yiannikos is also main shareholder of “Ependytis” newspaper, owner of Modern Times publishing house and some theaters in Athens.
Since a couple of weeks Greece’s financial crimes squads arrest one after the other debtors owing the Greek state amounts higher than 100,000 euro. If the arrested pay their debts or at least part of it, they go free. Otherwise… No, they don’t go into prison. They pay bailout and go home…
The Finance Ministry decided to proceeds to arrests of debtors after the general outcry of employees and pensioners who have to carry the load of austerity measures with income decreases, while big scale debtors remain untouched.