Aspiring member of the European Parliament, Myrsini Loizou, was forced to resign from the SYRIZA EU elections list, after media reported that she was illegally receiving the pension of her deceased mother for 5.5 years. A public outcry broke out on Friday after two newspapers reported that Loizou was furthermore convicted for fraud against the state for receiving the pension.
In her long resignation letter, the 53-year-old daughter of singer and music composer Manos Loizos, boldly claimed that she was receiving the pension due to …bureaucracy.
She wrote that although she immediately reported her mother’s death to the competent services, “the pension continued to be paid, which is often the case, because of bureaucracy.”
She wrote about the honorary pension her mother, writer Maro Loizou, was receiving from the Culture Ministry. “I recognize that this pension has been wrongly paid for some time. However, this mistake is not mine, since, after my mother’s death, I immediately informed the competent services. The reason why the pension continued to be paid is related to bureaucratic procedures, which, to my knowledge, often happens to many citizens.”
She added that she had recognized her debt to the state regarding this issue and she pays it back.
The pension was 700 euros per month.
Loizou did not have any explanation as to why she did not save the money to pay it back when she would be required to do so.
In February 2017, Loizou was handed a 2.5-year suspended sentence for having cashed the pension of her deceased mother for as long as five and a half years, causing the state a loss of 50,000 euros.
A second point of criticism as revealed by the media was that she has a debt to tax office and social security funds amounting 180,000 euros from a business she had with her former husband. She wrote that her ex husband had wholly resumed responsibility for this debt.
This case raised questions about her candidacy for a public office, as every average Greek needs a tax clearance in order to fix even a tiny private issue.
She blamed the media of “inaccurate reporting” and accused main opposition New Democracy for “shifting the political agenda to personal.”
A public outcry broke out, Greeks attacked her on social media. Many did not buy her explanations on her resignation letter and called her a “liar.”
The media revelations were a one way street for SYRIZA and the office of the prime minister could not do anything to save the situation and keep her on the EU elections list.
Even if SYRIZA and the government were checking whether the “legal issues” would be a burden for her candidacy, the scandal was too big.
Friday afternoon, SYRIZA and the government accepted her resignation.
BTW I have no idea about the professional background of Myrsini Loizou or her valuable contribution to the society, but also the ruling left-wing party seems to stick to the old Greek politics tradition of nepotism no matter what.
PS When my mother died three years ago, the …competent services automatically withdrew her last paid pension from her bank account 15-20 days after her death was declared to the social security fund. But my mom was just an average retired Greek businesswoman, her husband was an average Greek pensioner, my brother and I were -and still are – just average Greek children.