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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 3 October 2015
GREECE 24 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 3 OCTOBER 2015 First circular on pension reforms Labour ministry introduces more austerity measures under new memorandum Greece's labour ministry issued the first circular clarifying the changes to Greece's pension system under the reforms required by Greece's creditors on Tuesday. It breaks down the number of old-age pensions to be paid for those who retired after 1 July 2015 and A bank employee distributes priority tickets to pensioner customers as they wait outside a National Bank of Greece branch in central Athens. PHOTO: EPA/YANNIS KOLESIDIS. the minimum retirement age according to the memorandum. The minimum age for a full and reduced pension will gradually increase. From 1 January 2022 Greeks will be able to retire at 62 years with 40 years of uninterrupted employment in order to receive a full pension or retire at 67 years of age, having completed 15 years of full employment. Exempted from the above measures are those in strenuous or unhealthy professions, as well as single or widowed mothers and fathers with offspring incapable of gainful employment. The circular also specifies that the changes do not affect those who have already established rights to a pension from social insurance funds, having fulfilled the required years of employment and age. Their right can be exercised at any time. Source: Newsbomb.gr End of the line for Liakounakos Huge money trail through Monaco and several witness accounts led Greek authorities to one of Greece’s top defence reps The magistrate for corruption, Vasiliki Brati, issued a warrant for the arrest of Greek businessman Thomas Liakounakos, sources told the ANA-MPA on Tuesday. Liakounakos has been arrested and charged with money laundering and bribery as part of an investigation into suspicious arms deals, court officials said. Greece has promised to crack down on corruption and reform its spendthrift state, which many Greeks blame for the country's worst debt crisis. Prosecutors are investigating alleged financial scandals spanning decades in the debt-laden country. Thomas Liakounakos, who appeared to be a commercial agent for Swedish company Ericsson in Greece more than a decade ago, is accused of paying a bribe of up to 2 mil- "My professional activity has always been transparent and legal and my incomes evident and taxed in Greece." The deal was signed under the supervision of thendefence minister Akis Tsohatzopoulos, who has in the meantime been found guilty of money laundering. Antonis Kantas, deputy armaments chief at the Greek Defence Ministry between 1997 and 2002, has admitted to taking bribes over arms deals with foreign companies, and mentioned Ericsson in connection with bribes in his court testimony. Thomas Liakounakos has been implicated in arms dealing, bribes and money laundering. lion euros ($2.25 million) to a Greek official to secure a deal in 1999, court officials said. In a statement, Liakounakos strongly denied any wrongdoing. Ericsson has said it has zero tolerance of corruption. The Greek order under scrutiny was for the Ericsson airborne surveillance system Erieye and was worth about €532 million ($597 million). Ericsson has subsequently sold its defence business to Swedish group Saab. The money was paid through an offshore company which appears to belong to Liakounakos, the court officials said. Liakounakos, who was arrested at his Athens home late on Monday, appeared before a prosecutor on Tuesday and will remain in custody until he formally responds to the charges on Friday. "I have not bribed, as I have stated repeatedly, any state official," Liakounakos said in a statement. Asked about the case, Ericsson did not want to comment on the arrest but said all related documents were handed over with the divestment to the buyer, making it impossible for it to follow up on any claims of wrongdoings. "Ericsson has zero tolerance against bribes and corruption," a spokesperson for the company said in an emailed statement. "If any of the current claims that these funds have been misused is correct, it was clearly against our zero tolerance against corruption policy." Source: Reuters, Kathimerini Al Jazeera debunks ‘lazy Greeks’ theory Greeks worked longer hours than Germans and Brits Al Jazeera claims to have shammed suggestions Greeks are lazy and greedy, especially in the outset of the country's 2008 recession, leading to its current economic woes. On its online program Reality Check, host Mehdi Hasan says claims of Greeks being lazy are untrue. According to his report, in 2008 - the year of the Greek economic crash - Greeks worked an average of 42 hours per week, compared to 36 and 37 in Germany and the United Kingdom respectively. Meanwhile, Greeks currently receive 26 days of paid leave per annum compared to 30 and 28 days in Germany and the United Kingdom respectively. Whilst Greece topped pension spending in Europe according to a percentage of its GDP, it is much lower on the spending per pensioner scale, when compared with other European nations. "The truth is that the bulk of the damage done to Greece isn't the fault of its people, it's the fault of austerity, implemented on the instruction of Angela Merkel and her allies," Hasan says. Apparently leaked IMF documents were used to support the argument. DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Tax hikes for incomes over €12,000 Middle incomes remain unaffected Taxpayers with annual incomes of up to 12,000 euros will not have to pay any additional income tax, Alternate Finance Minister Tryfon Alexiadis promised on Tuesday, although he stopped short of shedding any more light on the new set of tax rates set to start applying from next year. In an interview with the Athens-Macedonian News Agency, Alexiadis tried to banish talk that Greek taxpayers were set to be hit by a tax Armageddon, stressing that no new laws on taxes have been passed yet. However, he did say that there may be some changes to the system of calculating road tax as of this year - the tax for 2016 that is due by 31 December 2015. "On road tax we may manage to introduce some changes from this year, as it is also a logistical issue we must take care of, so as to make the tax fairer and more proportionate," Alexiadis stated, dismissing reports regarding additional taxes on middle incomes. "Our fiscal policy is to combat tax evasion and smuggling and to make the tax system fairer," Alexiadis said, adding that "by no means will we impose further taxes on incomes, at least the ones that are up to 12,000 euros". Regarding the Uniform Real Estate Tax (ENFIA), Alexiadis said that first instalment will be sent in a few days and will have to be paid until the end of October. He also noted that the amount will be at the same level as last year. On the abolition of VAT on certain islands, Alexiadis underlined that the agreed timetable will be implemented. Finally, he stressed that "if we want to attract investments, tax stability should be considered granted". Source: Kathimerini, Newsbomb.gr German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. PHOTO: EPA/BERND VON JUTRCZENKA.
26 September 2015
10 October 2015