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Greece’s Price List for kickbacks: 2% – 23% for public officials

Greece’s public officials had apparently turned the kickbacks collection into a “science”, while an unofficial but institutionalize price list could cut a nice portion from the total pie for private pockets. Under the hand. Illegally. Tax-free. The bribes percentage was something between 2% and shocking 23% depending on the sector that was involved into generously distributing public contracts and asking for supplies from submarines to pacemakers.

an average of 4% would be given for armament contracts and weapons supplies

a 2% to 2.5% was foreseen for contracts of every kind of goods and services.

Top of the top were contracts for medical and pharmaceutical supplies for public hospitals and other institutions: the bribe was a juicy 23%.

A party of several billion euros on the cost of public money and the country’s honest taxpayers.

The Minister against Corruption, Panagiotis Nikoloudis, made these revelations on Sunday at the Greek Parliament and refereed to the time period between the years 2000 and 2010.

Nikoloudis said among others:

“There can be no doubt that one of the main – if not the main reason – for the country to end up in economic crisis is the corruption which appeared as endemic in all procurement contracts, mainly in the first decade of the new century, from 2000 to 2010, in contracts signed with companies that were primarily abroad.”

Nikoloudis said further that there must be differentiation concerning the corruption and that if citizens are corrupted, “if half of the citizens corrupt the other half, then “in a sense the country has to pay for its own weakness.”

“However” he added “corruption is like tango, it takes two. There can not be someone who takes money if there is not someone else willing to offer the illegal money.”

Nikoloudis’ revelations are not new to the Greeks, maybe the percentage per sector is something new.

Long before former Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos was locked in in prison for bribes, almost everybody was convinced that ministers and public officials were corrupt and that they were pocketing money for every signature they would put under a contract.

But there was no evidence, just rumors. And not one was ever held responsible. Corruption was institutionalized. and it was even accepted by several groups of the society. It was the obvious and it was tolerated as private citizens/businessmen could benefit as well by giving a x% bribe to grant a state contract. The slogan was “no bribe, no contract’. Insiders could secure one contract after the other, outsiders were wondering why they didn’t despite making an attractive offer.

I remember an incident with workers of a public company who had come to fix something in our building just a couple of years ago. ago.

We were chatting about the press reports that part of the company was to be privatized and I asked them why the sale was delayed. “Because they cannot agree on the ministers’ provision,” they said. “Oh, the minister gets a commission?” I asked adding that this was “illegal.” The three guys looked at me as if I came from Mars and assured me that it was “perfectly legal.” The guys were unionists.

I don’t remember if the sale occurred, and it doesn’t matter, after all. No proof, just hear-saying.

There have been dozens of stories in the last 25 years rumoring around about ministers who got rich, built villas, bought yachts and enjoyed a lavish life while they had to live on the monthly salary by the Parliament. But as I said: the claims were never officially proven, there were just rumors.

And now that the new Greek government seems to know more on public servants’ corruption… what? Will they be investigated and brought to justice?

Or we will keep making just statements and complain about “how bad the ex guys and girls  were”?


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  1. I can tell you this is true. About 4 years ago two friends, a married couple who are teachers on Crete, wanted to start a non-profit to help at-risk children. When they applied for a grant, they were asked how much they would need for start-up costs. They replied ‘About 80,000 euros.’ They were told that if they needed 80,000 to start, they should ask for 180,000; 80,000 was for the grant, the remainder was for bribes, and they were given a very specific list of MPs and others they would need approval from for the venture – for licensing, permits, etc. – as well as how much in bribe money should be paid to each person. It is disgusting.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      all governments knew, nobody did anything against it. whoever was trying to “make the difference” was spit out by the establishment system. yucks!

      • My friends were disgusted. They chose to go another route and spend the past 4 years raising the money themselves for a smaller programme.

  2. we do not look at the “big” guys.
    look to the dayly live on village Level.
    if you wonna have a bilding licence.
    if you wonna an Operation in the Hospital.
    if you wonna a faver in the local court.
    licence a car.
    have your electricety back on your home
    Wonna be declared blind or an other handicap.
    your be declared dead and your relatives have still your Pension and your in heaven and looking down on your Country what is going down the hill.
    that is the real Problem.
    the small Level fakelaki.
    offcourse in the press are the big ones making the day!

    • keeptalkinggreece

      aaah the small level fakelaki is more important that the million EUROS bribes. Have you thought that the bribes are not paid by the bribe-givers but that that there is overcharge???.

  3. Have to agree with John – How many operations and births took place in Greece over the period of 10yrs? How much illegal money has gone into doctors pockets? How many buildings have been built with fakelaki? How many people have jobs because of the fakelaki? Our local ‘Admiral’shop advertised for staff – my friend applied and was told to cough up a few thousand euro for the privilege of working as a sale assistant! Someone came to check my husband’s books and wanted 25,000 euro to say they were fine without looking – he implied that he will definitely see a mistake should he check …. we did not pay up – he never came back.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      I still believe fakelaki is one thing and bribes for procurements another. both are bad. Why do you think politicians let fakelaki prevail all these years? to hide their own sh*t!
      tolerate fakelaki so they will tolerate bribes

      • +1!!!!

      • What is really amazing about all of this is the total blindness to the very same attitude and way of doing things all over the world. Portaying this as a typical Greek way of doing things is simply a lie, but a very conveniet one for many people who do not wont the spotlight moved elsewhere. It might just show them up to be anything but the law abiding, honest tz paying citizens they calaim to be…
        Officially, it is called the “shadow economy”. A.T. Kearney, a global management consultant did a study on the “shadow economy” in Europe in 2013.

        Here’s a little extract from this report:

        The size of the shadow economy in Europe reached a 10-year low in 2013, and is now estimated at €2.15 trillion. On average across Europe, the shadow economy is as large as 18.5 per cent of economic activity.[…] Almost two-thirds of the shadow economy is concentrated in Europe’s five largest economic powers—Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

        Remind me, who are the biggest mouths when it comes to Greece needing to get its house in order?