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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 12-12-14

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] New tax bill tabled in parliament
  • [02] SYRIZA: False dose of optimism can't hide reality
  • [03] The Friday edition of Athens' dailies
  • [04] Police announced bust of illegal gambling, money laundering gang
  • [05] Ex-bank governor arrested over fears of fleeing the country
  • [06] Greece participates in Hawaiian tourism congress

  • [01] New tax bill tabled in parliament

    AMNA--The new tax bill, envisioning two income tax scales -- one for salary and pension earners and one for free-lance professionals -- was tabled in parliament on Wednesday night.

    The income tax scale foresees a maximum rate of 42 percent on annual incomes of up to 42,000 euros, while the tax rate for incomes of up to 25,000 euros is 22 percent and for incomes from 25,001 euros to 42,000 euros the rate is 32 percent.amna

    For free-lance professionals, the tax rate will be 26 percent for incomes up to 50,000 euros and 33 percent for incomes in excess of the 50,000 euros.

    The tax-free arrangement is abolished for freelance professionals, while a tax deduction of 2,100 euros is introduced for pensioners with up to 21,000 euros annually. For higher incomes, the tax deduction is reduced to 100 euros per 1,000 euros income.amna

    A 10 percent tax deduction on medical care and hospital expenses and on court-imposed alimony to a spouse is maintained unchanged.

    Further, a separate scale is introduced for incomes from rents, which are no longer classified together with wage/salary and pension incomes, providing for tax rate of 10 percent on annual incomes from rents of up to 12,000 euros and a rate of 33 percent for rent incomes in excess of the 12,000 euros.

    Finally, the tax rate for interest accrued on deposits is increased to 15 percent from the current 10 percent.

    [02] SYRIZA: False dose of optimism can't hide reality

    AMNA--The prime minister's effort "to present himself and his government as 'saviours' once again has no ground to fall on and is unconvincing," the main opposition Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA-EKM) said on Thursday, commenting on Prime Minister Antonis Samaras' statements after the Eurogroup meeting.

    "The 'false dose of optimism'", the party said, "cannot hide the reality most people are experiencing from the extreme memorandum policy of austerity which reduces incomes, increases unemployment, intensifies recession and destroys the prospects of the country for a viable and fair development."amna

    It added, "The populace, however, will become transformed, through its active participation, into a protagonist in developments leading to a change in direction, so that we do not find ourselves every so often as members of the audience to the same play."

    [03] The Friday edition of Athens' dailies

    The Friday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    The Eurogroup's approval for the disbursement of the tranche to Greece, the tabling of the new tax bill in parliament and the ongoing turmoil in the Independent Greeks party dominated the headlines on Friday in Athens' newspapers.

    AVGHI: "Pyrrhic installment".

    EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON: "50 tax 'traps'."

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Taxation: The final account".

    ESTIA: "Landmark decision for Greece".

    ETHNOS: "52.5 bln euros super injection".

    IMERISSIA: "The big opportunity - Change of course with 52.5 bln euros".

    KATHIMERINI: "Huge tranche a breather for the country".

    LOGOS: "Government satisfied with the disbursement of the installment".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Eurogroup gives green light for 49 bln euros loans in the next 100 days".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Our target is the prevalence of the popular just rights".

    TA NEA: "Money (now) exists but...".

    VRADYNI: "New arrangement for mortgage loans (repayment) with 4-year grace period".

    6 DAYS: "Big words, little money".

    [04] Police announced bust of illegal gambling, money laundering gang

    AMNA--Police in the prefecture of Magnisia on Thursday announced the dismantling of a criminal organisation that had set up a huge illegal betting, gambling and money laundering racket, operating in Volos and Thessaloniki. In a press conference held at the Thessaly police headquarters in Larissa, they announced the arrest of 44 suspects, including three suspected of being the criminal gang's leadership.

    These were a 37-year-old identified as the gang leader, and his two 'lieutenants', a 34-year-old woman and a 39-year-old man. Another 18 suspects arrested were 'players' caught in the act while participating in various illegal gambling games, while another eight suspected members of the criminal gang are being sought.

    Police also found and confiscated large sums of money, bank books, bonds, property deeds, luxury vehicles, boats, computers, electronic surveillance systems and drugs that are to be used as evidence in the case.amna

    The gang is estimated to have made more than 30 million euro over the last five years, while lost tax revenue as a result of their activities is believed to exceed 10 million euro.

    Authorities have drawn up charges against 87 individuals in total, ranging from forming a criminal organisation and fraud, to setting up and participating in illegal gambling games and money laundering. The arrests and charges follow a police investigation lasting several months. This tracked the group's activities as far back as 2007, starting at first with illegal fruit machines and then extending to illegal betting and fraud, operating through a network of six Internet cafes and coffee shops in Volos, the Athens district of Nea Ionia and Almyros in Magnisia.amna

    The suspects arrested were led before a Volos public prosecutor, while an investigation into the group's activities is continuing.

    [05] Ex-bank governor arrested over fears of fleeing the country

    AMNA--Businessman Lavrentis Lavrentiadis, former governor of Proton Bank, was arrested at his home in Vouliagmeni on Thursday on a warrant by the second special investigator handling the case.

    Lavrentiadis had not been called yet to give testimony over multiple charges related to money laundering but was arrested on suspicion of fleeing the country, despite an order preventing him from exiting Greece.amna

    The businessman and another 26 individuals are facing the charges after a prosecutor launched an investigation of loans made by Proton Bank to Lavrentiadis-related companies that did not fulfill the necessary viability criteria. The amounts loaned total 701 million euros.amna

    All of the defendants had their property and assets seized by court order on Wednesday, following a petition by the old Proton Bank shareholders, who claimed the damages were incurred by bank executives without their knowledge.

    [06] Greece participates in Hawaiian tourism congress

    AMNA--Despite natural disasters, climatic changes and wars, tourism increased globally by 4.6 percent in 2012, according to a large tourism congress held by the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) in Hawaii that attracted over 700 organisations, agencies, ministries and industries.

    Greece was represented by Deputy Secretary General of the National Tourism Organisation (EOT) Andreas Fiorendinos, who attended along with staff from the US branch of EOT. amna

    Findings presented at the congress include the following: the number of tourism travellers is expected to double next year, from the present 1 billion to 2 billion; tourism is the third largest industry, followed by the car industry and banking sectors; one in 12 workers globally works in tourism-related sectors; and 9 percent of investments are made in the tourism sector.amna

    According to the Greek delegation, "the country's presence was absolutely necessary and especially successful, judging by the top-level contacts that took place."

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