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Greek ex-finance minister probed for hiding income
Ex-Greek finance minister Gikas Hardouvelis is being investigated for alleged failure to comply with his tax obligations, a Greek newspaper reported.
According to the weekly Real News, the deposits in Hardouvelis' bank accounts in 2011 did not match the incomes he had declared that year. Also, in 2012 he was suspected of sending money to banks abroad that was not accounted in his declaration of assets.
The inquiry was launched by anti-corruption minister and outgoing head of the independent money laundering authority, Panagiotis Nikoloudis,on January 20.
Mr Nikoloudis confirmed to AFP on Saturday that he had opened a probe, emphasising that he had done so before becoming a minister in the new Syriza government.
"Hardouvelis has sent money abroad in a really curious way", he said.
Mr Hardouvelis was briefly finance minister in the government of conservative prime minister Antonis Samaras, which was brought down this January by the populist Syriza party, campaigning to roll back painful austerity reforms imposed by Greece's EU creditors.
According to the Real News report, Mr Nikoloudis had sent an urgent classified demand to the Greek parliament, just five days before the general election, for an audit of Mr Hardouvelis' tax declaration.
Mr Hardouvelis issued a statement on Saturday, insisting that he had paid all taxes and that any foreign bank accounts he has were opened only because he had also worked abroad. Funds were only sent to those accounts when he was not a minister.
"I'm taxed for the sums of money the newspaper is referring to. The money is the result of many years of work - mine and my wife's. My tax reports confirm that", said Mr Hardouvelis.
Syriza issued a statement on Saturday attacking Mr Hardouvelis' alleged behaviour at the height of the Greek debt crisis.
"While Mr Hardouvelis was sending e-mails to the troika of creditors agreeing with new measures that would have burdened people even more, he was not revealing his income and he was sending his money abroad," Syriza said.