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Greek tourism minister quits because her husband is a tax cheat

Here's your situation in Greece in a nutshell: The Associated Press is reporting that Angela Gerekou, who is Greece's deputy tourism minister, has resigned because her husband -- a former pop music and film star -- owes millions of euros in back taxes.

These two sound like quite a couple: Gerekou, who is 51, once posed topless in a men's magazine. You can see a family-friendly photo of her by clicking here. Her husband, Tolis Voskopoulos, 70, and his claim to fame, well, I'll just quote from the AP:

Voskopoulos is one of the best-known representatives of Greece’s older generation of popular singers and nightclub stars. His croon lifted him to fame with the 1969 record “Agonia” (Agony), which sold 300,000 copies. He has released dozens of records, and he appeared in several films during the 1960s and 70s, including the 1971 hit “My Brothers, Footloose Tramps.”

There are a lot of reasons why Greece is stuck in such dire circumstances, but here's a big one: it's a nation of fudgers. For decades, thousands of wealthy Greeks have treated income tax as more of a suggestion than a legal obligation. But the government is no more honest. Twice in recent years, Greece has had to confess to the world that it understated its debt. Income and debt deception is in the culture. The AP reports that Greek officials are using satellite photos to track down tax cheats by looking for swimming pools, which they consider to be a sign of taxable wealth. In other words, the fastest way to a Greek tax audit these days apparently is to have a backyard pool.

It's too bad for Greece that it's a tourism official who's gotten dragged down in this because tourism is pretty much Greece's only hope to earn its way out of this crisis. And right now is the start of vacation season.

The Greece debt crisis forced its European neighbors to adopt a $1 trillion bailout plan for the Continent and Greece itself, already rioting, will have to adopt tough austerity measures.

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By Frank Ahrens  |  May 17, 2010; 5:18 PM ET
Categories:  Deficit/debt  | Tags: Greece, Maps and Views, Politics, Tolis Voskopoulos, Tourism, Travel Guides, Travel and Tourism, United States  
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Comments

Firstly, you have a major typo in your blog note. Secondly, let look at our tax cheats including a rather hefty one ....CEO owes New York city roughly $75 million.

Chao!

Posted by: Xenia1 | May 17, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Firstly, you have a major typo in your blog note. Secondly, let look at our tax cheats including a rather hefty one ....CEO owes New York city roughly $75 million.

Chao!

Posted by: Xenia1 | May 17, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Hi, Xenia1:
Thanks for that. Fixed the typo.
Frank Ahrens

Posted by: Frank Ahrens | May 17, 2010 9:27 PM | Report abuse

The Greeks win ... A decade of low interest rates and overspending ... followed by an ECB bailout ... all is well now :-)

Posted by: cautious | May 18, 2010 2:55 AM | Report abuse

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