Greek minister resigns over husband's tax arrears

Greek Tourism Minister stepped down after revelations that her husband owed the government more than 5 million euros in taxes.

Greek minister resigns over husband's tax arrears

Greek Tourism Minister Angela Gerekou was sacked on Monday after press reports that her husband, a prominent singer, owed the government more than 5 million euros ($6.35 million) in taxes.

Press reports on the issue, which were confirmed by the finance ministry, dealt a blow to the government's credibility as it cuts workers' wages and pursues tax dodgers to save the country from bankruptcy.

Gerekou and her husband, Tolis Voskopoulos, a popular singer in the 1970s and 80s, filed joint tax declarations for years, Greek media reported.

Gerekou, a former actress who posed for the Greek edition of Playboy in 1996, got her first government job as Deputy Culture Minister in charge of tourism in the Socialist cabinet of Prime Minister George Papandreou when he won elections in October.

The cash-strapped government has declared war on tax dodgers, particularly in the professions and show business. Papandreou has also slashed the income of civil servants and pensioners to save money and qualify for an international bailout of 110 billion euros.

Gerekou is the second cabinet member to quit since the Socialists' election victory. In December, Deputy Interior Minister Dinos Rovlias stepped down after allegations that he had intervened on behalf of police and army personnel who sought transfers to other posts.

"Prime Minister George Papandreou accepted the resignation of Deputy Culture and Tourism Minister Angela Gerekou," government spokesman George Petalotis said in an e-mailed statement.

Reuters

Last Mod: 17 Mayıs 2010, 23:23
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