The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered a probe into reports that the Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) has compiled a list of 30 politicians, including former ministers, current lawmakers, local authority officials and general secretaries at ministries, who it is investigating for corruption and tax evasion.
Supreme Court deputy prosecutor Nikos Pantelis asked Greece’s two financial prosecutors, Grigoris Peponis and Spyros Mouzakitis, to conduct a preliminary investigation to establish whether such a list exists and what stage SDOE’s probe has reached. If the list exists, then prosecutors will take over the investigation.
SDOE began looking into the financial dealings of some 500 national and local politicians earlier this year. At the beginning of this month, it announced that it had frozen the assets of 121 suspected tax evaders as part of a separate investigation.
Meanwhile, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday that it would launch disciplinary proceedings against all those involved in the awarding of disability benefits to dozens of people of Zakynthos who claimed to be blind but had no problem with their vision.
During checks earlier this year, the IKA-ETAM social security fund found that 388 islanders were claiming the benefits. It asked all these people to submit themselves for new medical checks. Of those, 167 did not come forward. Of the remaining 221, only 39, or just under 20 percent, were found to have complications with their sight.
Zakynthos Mayor Stelios Bozikis said that the fraudulent claims were costing the Greek state 2.5 million euros per year. The doctor who issued the blindness certificates was transferred away from the island pending the investigation.
In a related development, the Labor Ministry said it had stopped paying 8,800 pensions after the recipients failed to respond during a census that was launched last year. It was not clear how much this was saving the government.