Last night we had a good laugh. Refreshing amid depressed Greeks suffering from deep economic crisis and political uncertainty. Cause of the laugh was former Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos. He is currently in custody with financial fraud charges, while new charges on money laundering, and bribes though off-shore companies are not excluded the future.
Akis Tsochatzopoulos, 73, a founding member of the Socialist PASOK sits in Athens Korydalos prison, on corruption charges for allegedly pocketing at least $26 million in kickbacks for Greece’s purchase of submarines and missile systems and funneling the money through offshore accounts to buy property.
While the authorities publish piece by piece Tsochatzopoulos’ diary from his confiscated notebook, Greeks are shocked about the astronomic amount of money the former minister ‘dealt with’. And allegedly put it into his own pockets first and from there to his wife, Vicki Stamati, 49, to spend….
800,000 euro here, 500,000 euro there. Tsochatzopoulos demands money from former aides. He is in need of cash. Short before he got arrested.
Money travelling around the globe through off-shore companies, through aides and friends, Swiss banks, whatever tax-paradises…
Akis Tsochatzopoulos writes a kind of diary about his activities and those of his friends. His notes do not resemble those of a person holding a ministerial post and they have nothing to do with his state duties. The diary is just about money, about spent money for private purposes and about how to get money from former aides.
The diary could resemble that of an accountant or the CEO of a multinational company. But it’s not. It is more of the art should Don Corleone had kept a diary…
Akis Tsochatzopoulos is the man who could have become prime minister in Greece, hadn’t he lost at PASOK’s congress by George Papandreou. The man whom a daily described as the Greek Champagne Socialist.
“Living large on public money”, was apparently Tsochatzopoulos and his wife’s slogan. Vicki Stamati, a former PPC employee with less than 25,000 euro annual income, currently also in custody with money laundering charges. His declared income was not more than 100,000 ….
Modest we start, large we expand..
Last time Tsochatzopoulos worked and earned money must have been at the beginning of the 1980’s. His first ministerial post he held in 1981, his last in 2004. Also his wife in second marriage wasn’t the offsping of a rich family but of a modest village family.
They first met in 2000, got married in 2004 in Paris. Their lavish wedding at Four Seasons Hotel is considered one of the weddings in Greece’s modern history.
Tsochatzopoulos’s diary notes do not concern only his own business but also the expenditure frenzy of his wife. While the ex minister seems a master in money hoarding, his wife seems to have an expertise in money spending.
The list about Stamati’s expenditure frenzy is incredible long. Hundreds of thousands of euro were spent for home decoration or personal clothing.
Alone in the month of October 2006, she ordered staff from lambs for children’s room to master bedroom curtain and from golden fabrics to marble tables, total worth more than 42,000 euro.
To tell you the truth as a stylish woman, I was delighted to read she had ordered couch fringes worth 2.626.57 euro only, while the couch cordon cost was no more than just 552 euro.
A friend told me I shound’t be delighted but I should vomit because she lived on our expenses. Because the bribes were charged by the companies at the end price of the products – mostly arms purchases. The bill was paid by the Greek state through tax-payers money.
But to tell you the truth I can’t prevent myself from cheering a good deal. Can you imagine, the couch fringes and cordon were worth 10,000 euro?
While writing this article trying to explain the situation, I almost forgot why we had a good laugh last night.
Tsochatzopoulos’s diary revealed that short before he was arrested, he had plans to establish a political organisation and act as “economic advisor” to the Greek government…
BTW: Tsochatzopoulos daughter is also in custody for the same charges. Daughter and ‘mother in law’ claim they should be released on bail because they had minor children…
See also an article of NYTimes about the Tsochatzopoulos case.
PS And here I remember again that wonderful line from Pink Panther: At the end of the film Inspector Clouseau stands trail for allegedly being the thief of Pink Panther diamond. The judge asks Clouseau’s wife – who is also the lover of the real diamond thief, a rich British aristocrat- , how comes she spends every month 10,000 Franc in clothing, when her husband earns 1,000 France per month. “I was good in saving money” she answered lol
“In a statement, he described his arrest, on April 11, the day the government called early elections, as “a pre-election gift” to the two main parties.”
A gift like the trojan horse. Both major parties lost painfully in the last elections. Tsoshatzopoulos not only is a crook, he’s also a lousy politician, totally unaware of the reality. How many in Greek politics are like him? Kick the bums out, send them into jail!
How many are NOT like him? If you find one, please tell us… And about the rest you say, I have just one word: Bravo!
This is all I have to say:
“These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people” Abraham Lincoln
He must start ‘talking’ about the others in his party that he surely knows were also on the take.
It’s the very least he can do to salvage a grain of dignity!
Most people reading this forum of articles must be quite young, when they so easily speak of how good an idea it would be for Greece to go into bankruptcy, go over to a New Drachma, and that after 10 years everything would be just fine, always referring to Iceland.
The state of Iceland did NOT go bankrupt, it was the Icelandic central bank that got problems when one of Iceland’s private banks went solo and promised interest rates way over those in the market for deposits from abroad. This game went wrong, people wanted their money back and the central bank went insolvent. There was a referendum about paying back this money for the lost deposits. The government of Iceland was for paying, the people voted against. So, now the tax payers in especially UK and the Netherlands stand for the costs. A very simplified story.
But in every case, these amounts were peanuts, and the state economy in Iceland was not involved in any way.
And Iceland did NOT change currency, but kept the Krona which was devaluated with only about 10 %
You cannot possibly compare Greece and Iceland in any way.
Iceland is a country with only 250 000 people, it is a Nordic welfare state with a long tradition for that, it is a volcanic island with hot water pumping up from the ground, they grow their vegetables in green houses heated with this water, the only imported energy they need is petrol for the cars. They are surrounded by huge areas of ocean rich with good fish, which they have international agreements on being for Iceland only to fish and maintain fishable. This is icelands major export income.
The Icelandic state economy is in good shape and can maintain the obligations a welfare state has to it’s citizens.
Something the Greeks can only dream about. No run down public buildings there, nor pot holes in the center of the towns which make it difficult to zik zak between them and randomly parked cars.
With a good social security and unemployment benefits and good pension and health care system paid over the tax bill (and not over some obscure funds such as IKA, TSMEDE and the likes) that guarantees a very good working pension, and a folk pension for all.
Here comes my first real worry with Greece’s default leaving the state behind with a debt of about 400 000 000 000 euros.
I have paid my pension bills through the years, as millions of others have. And I was counting on going on pension after 9,5 years. Do these savings just disappear in the same maelstrom as the rest ? There will be no money for health care, education, nothing. The prices for everything will soar, because the New Drachma would by the day of introduction be nothing worth.
If you put rate of the New Dracma to one euro, the state debt will with the very weak New Drachma go up to 1200 billion, maybe 2000 billion New Drachmas. Equivalent to 400 billion euro. Nobody knows. You might say, that it does not matter, we will forget about all this debt, but the creditors will not forget. And will NOT give Greece one cent more loan.
If austerity has been the reason for an increase in the number of suicides, just wait til it will start soaring. I would rather kill myself than starve to death.
You, who romantically talk of starting from scratch, with building a New prosperous Greece up from the ashes of the old in ten years, make it sound like a piece of cake. It is not. A society is complicated, or do you need a new strong man to do this task ?
I always think of Albania when I hear people talking about building a New Greece up from the ground. Albania started after the fall of Enver Hoxha with a clean slate. Opposite Greece with an enormous debt.
Where is Albania now after over 20 years of rebuilding ? The only “big” achievements they have done, is to get rid of 30 % of the population and to take part in the European Music Contest. So much for building up from the ashes.
according to Alexa most people reading this forum of articles are 40+. It looks many people commending on this forum could be younger or older too 🙂