Kapeleris denies letting off illegal fuel traders

Yiannis Kapeleris, who resigned on Monday as the Finance Ministry?s general secretary for tax and customs, denied on Tuesday that he waved away fines on some 3,500 gas stations for illegal fuel trading.

Speaking to state-run NET TV, Kapeleris said that the fines were for gas stations who failed to record within deadlines sales of vehicle fuel and heating oil. The former public official said that the date should have been recorded on the Hephaestus electronic system but that there were problems with the process.

?No penalty was cancelled and in no way do late entries on the Hephaestus system, which had problems, suggest that illegal trading had taken place,? said Kapeleris.

The former tax chief said that a law was to be past to correct the problems with the data scheme, which is why the fines were not collected.

The association representing gas station owners has backed Kapeleris, arguing that the penalties were of a technical nature to do with the Hephaestus system rather than for illegal trading.

The failure to collect the fines allegedly prompted the resignation of Diomidis Spinellis, the former general secretary of information systems at the Finance Ministry. The incident was investigated by Peponis, leading to Monday?s charges of breach of faith against Kapeleris, who was asked to resign by Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos.

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