Was Mount Athos implicated in with the Greek state in corrupt land swap deals?
Posted 03 September 2010 - 01:52 PM
If it is, can someone elaborate on the land swap scandal that the article references between the Greek Orthodox monks and the state?
Posted 03 September 2010 - 02:32 PM
"A scandal involving land swaps between a Greek Orthodox monastery, above, and the state helped bring down a Greek government last fall." (picture of a monastery)
ATHENS—Behind the budget crisis roiling Greece lies a riddle: Why does the state spend so lavishly but collect taxes so poorly? Many Greeks say the answer needs only two words: fakelaki and rousfeti.
Fakelaki is the Greek for "little envelopes," the bribes that affect everyone from hospital patients to fishmongers. Rousfeti means expensive political favors, which pervade everything from hiring teachers to property deals with Greek Orthodox monks. Together, these traditions of corruption and cronyism have produced a state that is both bloated and malnourished, and a crisis of confidence that is shaking all of Europe.
A study to be published in coming weeks by the Washington-based Brookings Institution finds that bribery, patronage and other public corruption are major contributors to the country's ballooning debt, depriving the Greek state each year of the equivalent of at least 8% of its gross domestic product, or more than €20 billion (about $27 billion).
"Our basic problem is systemic corruption," Greece's Prime Minister George Papandreou said after he took office late last year, vowing to change a mentality that views the republic as a resource to plunder. He later berated the chief of public prosecutions, saying Greeks believe "there is impunity in this country." The chief prosecutor said that wasn't so.
Greece moved closer to a bailout Thursday, requesting aid talks with the International Monetary Fund and the European Union. Many investors and economists say aid would buy Greece time, but wouldn't solve its underlying problems.
The Brookings study, which examines the correlation between corruption indicators and fiscal deficits across 40 developed or nearly developed economies, highlights how corruption has hurt public finances in parts of Europe, especially in Greece and Italy, and to a lesser extent in Spain and Portugal.
Greece's budget deficit averaged around 6.5% of GDP over the past five years, including a 13% shortfall last year. If Greece's public sector were as clean and transparent as Sweden's or the Netherlands', the country might have posted budget surpluses over the past decade, the study implies.
"If Greece had better control of corruption—not to Swedish standards, but even at Spain's level—it would have had a smaller budget deficit by 4% of gross domestic product," on average over the past five years, says Daniel Kaufmann, senior fellow at Brookings and the study's author.
Greece places last in the 16-nation euro zone in a ranking by World Bank researchers of how well countries control corruption, and last in the 27-nation European Union, tied with Bulgaria and Romania, in corruption-watchdog group Transparency International's survey of countries' perceived graft.
Last year, 13.5% of Greek households paid a bribe, €1,355 on average, according to a Transparency survey published last month. Ordinary citizens hand out cash-filled envelopes to get driver's licenses, doctor's appointments and building permits, or to reduce their tax bills, according to the organization's Greek chapter.
In the past three years alone, senior politicians have resigned or been investigated over allegations that include taking bribes for awarding contracts, employing illegal workers and selling overpriced bonds to public pension funds.
In 2008 senior government officials were accused of helping a politically connected Greek Orthodox monastery claim ownership of a lake, then swap it for a large portfolio of public land at valuations that favored the monks, but lost over €100 million for taxpayers, according to investigators. The scandal contributed to Greek conservatives' election defeat last fall...."
The article goes on but the rest of it is mostly on the economic crisis. I post the above to get a better idea of the reporting on the monastery (bolded text above is my emphasis).
Posted 03 September 2010 - 04:43 PM
Posted 03 September 2010 - 04:52 PM
Fr David Moser
Posted 04 September 2010 - 12:17 AM
The situation concerning Vatopedi continues to draw headlines in Greece. Ex govt officials are even in jail over this. I thought it is a serious situation demanding a serious review by the members of the forum, especially those living in Greece. I was hoping especially for their input, since they are on the ground over there.
But I understand that you would rather not discuss.
Posted 04 September 2010 - 01:11 AM
Fr David Moser
Edited by Father David Moser, 04 September 2010 - 01:12 AM.
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