9 million euro fraud by former PM Papandreou's 'confidant'
Alex Rontos [former diplomat, close aide to Papandreou] accused of ‘green’ NGO scandal
Serious accusations are made over non-existent de-mining operations in Bosnia, Lebanon, Iraq that were supposedly carried out by the NGO founded by the (now arrested) former editor of “Exormisis” ['Expedition' – a former PASOK affiliated newspaper], Konstantinos Tzevelekos.
Rontos and another six diplomats and public servants are also under investigation over allegations of fraud and money laundering.
Huge losses for steel companies
High energy costs and low domestic demand are to blame
High running costs worsened an already dire financial situation in 2013 for Greek steel companies according to unofficial statements by industry officials. Further weakening in domestic demand together with an inability to boost profits from exports due to excessively high energy costs appear to have led to increased losses.
Tractors set course for Athens
The country’s farmers, enraged over new tax requirements, appear unwilling to back down over plans to descend on the country’s cities. A taste of what is to come was seen yesterday in the capitals of the regions of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace which were closed for business. Argos was also closed off by farmers from the Independent Farmers Blockades of the Peloponnese who entered the town carrying black flags. There is a pan-Macedonian call for protests in Thessaloniki on Thursday and a pan-Cretan call for a protest in Iraklio on the same day.
Permits for new businesses to be granted within 24 hours with a simple statement to the Revenue Service and Company Registry
Inspections and audits to come afterwards
The new legislative framework being put forward by the Development Ministry will provide for business permits to be issued to new businesses in less than a day with a simple application filed with the Revenue Service and the General Company Registry.
The draft legislation will introduce the principle of self-regulation for entrepreneurs. According to this the entrepreneur will declare compliance with general operating rules, with inspections and audits of the business coming later, potentially even from accredited private agencies. In cases of activities where there is a question of protecting the public interest, e.g. for mines, public authorities will still need to grant operating licenses but according to simplified procedures.
In every event strict deadlines are being imposed for state permit offices and business owners. “A return to growth and reduction in unemployment won’t happen with wishes,” Prime Minister Antonis Samaras stated during the presentation of the legislation.
EFIMERIDA TON SYNTAKTON
Aris F.C. to go to Hellas Gold!
Plans by Hellas Gold S.A. [a goldmine company pursuing a controversial investment in Northern Greece and controlled by Canadian multinational Eldorado Gold] to purchase the Thessaloniki football club Aris were announced yesterday by the potential investor Giannis Konstantinidis who spoke of an ‘agreement that will be announced soon.’ Sources close to the club denied the plan.