Former City yuppies arrested; a Greek “success story” that ended in prison

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October 30, 2012 by pavlospapathanasiou

In early September 2011, surprised viewers in Greece were watching the former Finance Minister and current leader of PASOK party, Evangelos Venizelos, imposing through a televised declaration a new heavy tax on houses. The new tax widely known in Greece as “haratsi” (named after an old tax imposed by the Ottomans) was supposed to be collected through the electricity bills excactly like the local councils’ taxes. Venizelos soon found himself in a very embarrassing position since he was accused for being unreliable to himself; actually only some months earlier he had promised that he would not impose any special tax on houses. Without any shadow of doubt “haratsi” increased dramatically the unpopularity of Papandreou Cabinet and in parallel with its overall failed policies it led to its collapse two months later. Furthermore this new tax stressed the anagelsia of Venizelos, since he was warning to cut off electricity to any citizen who did not pay for it despite the fact that Greece’s High Court suggested that “haratsi payment should not be linked with providing electricity”

Except for the state owned DEI (National Electricity Enterprise) , electricity consumers, in accordance with the European Union legislation, could choose their provider among a few other recent founded companies. The most known private electricity providers at that time were Hellas Power and Energa . Journalists and scholars have stressed that these two companies were founded under extremely controversial circumstances and actually commenced their activity like common “bubbles” (1). Hellas Power CEO was the 31 year Vasilis Milionis and in the leadership of Energa one could find his friend and classmate in the same University of the British capital, Aristidis Floros 33 years old.

Both companies received consumers’ money which were actually paid for “haratsi” and for local councils’ taxes through the electricity bills. Instead of keeping their legal profits and pay back the taxes to the state, they decided to send the money in Swiss bank accounts. Furthermore after being “dissapeared” from any corporate or social event in Athens they tried to sell their companies stocks through an offshore company to an arab-russian fund. According to Greek Justice both young businessmen are responsible for a loss of more than 200 million euros to the State. (2)

Aristidis Floros of Energa was a down to earth businessman avoiding any media exposure while his Hellas Power counterpart Vasilis Milionis was known for his defiant, extravagant and dissolute lifestyle. According to reports from Proto Thema newspaper while the vast majority of the citizens were suffering due to the debt crisis and with more than 40.000 people left homeless in Athens, he was renting an appartment in the capital’s most expensive street for 8.000 euros per month. Moreover he was driving two luxurious cars and he spent thousands euros when going out at night. The public opinion was aware of the scandal that he was involved in and moreover the furious former customers of Hellas Power were forced to switch back to DEI , however Milionis continued his defiant lifestyle. He was enjoying posing with his friend and former PASOK MP from Thessaloniki , Mrs. Eva Kaili, who was one of Evangelos Venizelos most warm supporters before he got the party’s leadership. According to the same report Milionis also maintained excellent relations with Nea Dimokratia politicians, while his mother had a close link with the Konstantinos Mitsotakis a former party leader and Prime Minister in the early 1990’s. (3)

Earlier today in a combined police operation both businessmen were arrested and sent to the investigator office being accused for: embezzlement against the state, smuggling and criminal asscociation responsible for money laundering. (4)

Notes:

(1) http://www.catastroika.com/indexen.php link to watch the interesting documentary “Catastroika” in English

(2) http://www.ethnos.gr/article.asp?catid=22768&subid=2&pubid=63608685 article from Ethnos online edition (in Greek)

(3) http://www.protothema.gr/economy/article/?aid=173727 article from Proto Thema online edition on Milionis defiant lifestyle (in Greek)

(4) http://www.skai.gr/news/greece/article/216060/sunelifthisan-oi-upeuthunoi-ton-energa-kai-hellas-power-tha-odigithoun-ston-anakriti/ news alert from skai.gr on Milionis and Floros arrest (in Greek)

One thought on “Former City yuppies arrested; a Greek “success story” that ended in prison

  1. advantageous see this here

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