Former Transport and Culture Minister Michalis Liapis appeared in handcuffs before a prosecutor on Tuesday after being arrested driving a car with fake license plates and no insurance.
Liapis was stopped in Loutsa, northeast of Athens, at around 11 a.m. after failing to halt the SUV he was driving at a stop sign. The members of the DIAS motorcycle-riding squad who stopped him found that apart from using forged plates and not having valid insurance, the ex-minister also did not have his driver’s permit or identification card with him.
A police source told Kathimerini that, in an apparent bid to avoid being checked, Liapis reminded the DIAS officers that he had once been a minister. In radio contact with their superiors, the officers were told to follow normal procedures. As a result, Liapis was arrested and his vehicle towed. His trial has been set for Wednesday.
Liapis, who served as a New Democracy MP for 24 years, said that he gave in the car’s original license plates in August as he planned not to use the vehicle due to the extra taxation he would face.
“I am a pensioner, the crisis has also affected me,” he said. “I’m not saying I’m poor,” added Liapis, who is 62. According to the ex-minister’s most recent source of wealth (“pothen esches”) form, he had an income of 109,223 euros and owned 20 properties and eight plots of land. He also had around 45,000 euros in bank deposits.
“I had left the car in a garage in Porto Rafti but I was about to go on a trip to Asia and was afraid the battery would go flat,” the ex-minister said by way of explaining why he was driving the SUV. “It was unfortunate. I will be punished appropriately.”