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Crete: Jobless Father of 7 Arrested for State Debt of Swirling 5,000 Euro

It’s always the easy and vulnerable target that pays the price. It’s always the weak and defenseless who gets to feel the rigid face of the law. Whether it’s called “austerity”, “state revenues”, “fill the state pockets”, “pay back lenders” or generalized “structural reforms”.

 In Iraklio, Crete, the easy target was a father of seven children, without a job. And a unemployed wife as well. The man was arrested at his home and taken to local police station for a dept to the state. For owing the state the …swirling amount of 5,000 euro. According to local media, the debt comes from unpaid social contributions to Labour Authority (OAEE).

And this in times when tax evasion mutates to a national sport,  tax-dodgers owing the state million of euro walk around free and the state shows unable unable to get the notorious Greek diseases under control due to lack of political will.

But a recent law to enforce tax revenues dictates that those owing the state more than 5,000 euro can go to jail. As it is difficult to catch the big shark, the revenues hunters chose a tiny achovy.  Why bother with a shark, possible with important connections and enough money to pay a bailout? Why bother and possibly get into trouble?

Handcuffs for a jobless father of 7 for owing the state €5,000

It all started a year ago, when Minas Hatzidakis decided to put “padlock” to his private security company, he had established in 2008. Due to the economic crisis Hatzidakis was unable to bear the costs and keep his company going. He closed down the company that left the family will debts.

Hatzidakis and his family managed to survive due to financial aid by his colleagues and friends from the Labour centre of Iraklio.

On Tuesday night, an unpleasant surprise: Security officers paid a visit to Hatzidakis home politely stressing ” You either pay your debts to the state or you go to jail.”

Speaking to Proto Thema, Hatzidakis said, he was unable to pay his debts to the state for one simple reason: he has no money.

“I do not have the money to give to the State. I am a law abiding citizen, but I fail to pay off my debts, as I am unemployed. The company I had left only debts. My wife and I are unemployed. There is no money even to buy basic goods. Where can I find  5,000 euros for the taxes?”

Hatzidakis spoke to PrTh while he was at the court to hear the verdict.

Socratis Vardakis, chairman of the Labour Centre of Iraklio, proposed that the prosecutor integrates the debtor into community service programmes of the municipality so that Hatzidakis can earn money and pay his debts.

Municipalities in times of austerity offer part-time jobs or temporary contracts of up to 8 months for maximum 700-800 euro gross.

Where Hatzidakis’ family would find money for food and other basic needs…. that’s another story. Charity by friends.

Local media (see link above) report that Hatzidakis is also member of a civic solidarity movement and that  the locals try to find a solution his legal problems exploring all possibilities. 

UPDATE: The prosecutor accepted the locals’ proposals and Hatzidakis will work 380 hours in total  (4 hours/day) at the municipality. he will not receive salary but the municipality will direct the money to the state registers. He will start working at the beginning of September.

You may be interested to read also KTG’s article: Greek Public & Private Sector – Corruption, Tax Evasion & Impunity Alive and Kicking


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  1. Just wondering. How long would he be in jail for? Since he won’t be able to pay off his taxes being in jail either. And now he just cost the State money since he’s in jail.

  2. My heart goes out to this man. But it is not just in Greece that this kind of blatant, offensive injustice takes place. At the moment there are 107 people imprisoned in Mountjoy Jail in dublin, Ireland, for non payment of TV licences (160€ each).
    The banker who wrote himself an unsecured loan of 127 million €, an is co responsible for the biggest bank bust in european history, currently costing the Irish tas payer 96 billion €, is a free man and plays golf on the most expensive golf course in the world, Mount Juliet in Ireland, paid for by the Irish government…
    Not that the knowledge does Minas Hatzidakis any good, but it does go to show once again that corruption at the highest level is one of the biggest problems Europe has, and is NOT facing. But the Minas Hatzidakis’s of this world have the full rigor of the law applied, so that the rich and famous can go on living the lifestyle none of them earned or deserves!

    • keeptalkinggreece

      I am so much interested to hear what’s going on in other countries. in Jail for TV fees? more ridiculous is not possible, I think.

    • I keep on thinking to my self why is it always the average private citizen that ends up paying the bill for all the problems of the rich and famous, politicians, bankers and public servants.

      Minas to me is a symbol of a well deserved Revolution in Greece, to round up all the sharks and confiscate all they have in Greece and abroad. And the same should happen in Ireland and Spain as well.

      At the top of the list of these problems are the Bankers and Politicians.

      How can this poor man Minas give even a slice of bread to his children?

      The police should firstly after finding out why is being arrested, let him go free. The police and the military should be by the side of the people and should hunt down all the corrupt rich.

      I would also like to understand why do people in Europe pay to be able to have TV in their home. Do not the channels have advertisements? Don’t they make it possible to have free to air TV.
      Germany has the same thing, one has to pay to GEZ every 3 months 55€ imagine how much the state receives every 3 months from 60 million TV owners. That’s 3.3 billion Euros every 3 months.

  3. Poor guy. This is starting to remind of the debtors’ prisons in Dickens novels with the difference that they won’t throw the children in jail as well.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      Dickens’ deptors in prisons and families in poor houses – what’s what I tought too .

  4. @Aetos I’ve read a few other posts by you, and find this constant urge to bring in the military and police very worrying. Do you suffer from “Big Brother” syndrome? There are many, many people around who can testify what happens when that kind of power is given to (or taken by!) the military. Especially here in Greece. If history teaches us one thing, it is that the power and the capabilities of any military anywhere should be dismantled with extreme urgency, because there will always be somebody lurking in the background ready to use it for their own, very unsavoury purposes. We know the extremes of “military power” only too well. Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, Pinochet, de Gaulle, Franco, Mussolinni, Idi Amin, the list is endless. The potential for these extremes is not remote, it is constantly present because of the insane amounts of time, effort and money the world spends on creating these military power houses. Be it huge powers like the USA or Russia or China, or some crack-pot state like North Korea, or a banana republic anywhere, it makes no difference. Just think about it for a little. That is what you are really advocating. Really???

    • The reason i keep mentioning the military and police, is because the people in our armed forces and police are our protectors. I have many friends who are permanent military personel and police personel. They do not get paid very well always work hard and in dangerous conditions.

      Just to remind people. Greece is surrounded by hostile neighbours. They are all waiting for that chance to take something from Greece. And if the government starts to cut their salaries and expenses Greece could be facing new problems.

      My police friend gets only 1000 € per month on rotating shifts. He is married with two children.

      • If you consider the military and the police the “protectors” of the people, you are sadly mistaken. greece itself has very recent experience with just how much of a protector of the people the army is.
        the sad reality is that military and police are nothing else but big business and they pander to the needs and wishes of big business and interest groups, which are more often than not “the people”. Just look at history and tell me how many military interventions as promoted by yourself were in the “interest of the people”. It is naive and dangerous to think this is the case.
        If you want it in hard figures, military spending in 2011 tops 1.5 trillion. Now who’s side do think all these guys are on, the ones that give them their toys, or those they are supposed to use them against?
        And Greece is not surrounded by hostile neighbours. Greece is surrounded by neighbours, who’s governments (like the Greek one), think it prudent to spend ridiculous amounts of money on weaponry while the people they are supposed to look after can barely buy enough food for their families. And as we all know, the likes of Siemens and co will make sure that studity keeps going on. Like the Rothchilts who financed both sides of the Napoleonic wars, these guys do exactly the same. And make a killing, pardon the pun.
        I wonder what your friend would do on 3000 a year unemployement money, or absolutely nothing like 1000’s of people in Greece?
        Don’t get me wrong, I’m not attacking your friend. I am attacking the system that holds both your friend and the people hostage, each on opposing sides of the barbed wire fence called “finance”. Your friend doesn’t realise it, but he is as much a prisoner as the others. He just gets paid a little extra to look the other way and accept the make belief he is supposed to protect.