NEWS

Estimates of graft run into billions of euros

It is almost impossible to gain a full picture of the extent of corruption. For example, a survey by Nikos Chlykas, a forester formerly with the then Agriculture Ministry, showed that in Attica alone between 1982 and 2005, a total of 8,680 charges of corruption were submitted, alleging forestry regulation violations by prefectural, municipal and forestry service officials. According to a rough estimate, some 10 million euros have been spent greasing palms in these services. Statistically, it is estimated that these cases represent only 30 percent of the total extent of corruption, since according to criminology, unrecorded cases account for 60-70 percent of actual corruption. This means an additional 25 million euros in Attica alone. Zoning and building authorities are the champions in the corruption stakes, featuring prominently in reports by the Citizens' Ombudsman and public administration inspectors. The annual turnover in bribes is estimated at more than 3.4 billion euros a year, and that is solely for payments to speed up building approvals. That is, about 800 euros a year is spent every year for each adult in Greece and that does not include tax evasion from undeclared labor, outlay on extracurricular education or medical tests.

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