NEWS

Trials loom over asset masking

Dozens of regional governors, mayors, top executives in public companies, journalists and other professional groups obliged by law to provide annual income-source declarations are to be charged with failing to table their declarations or omitting crucial data, court sources said yesterday. According to officials at the supreme court prosecutor’s office, at least 100 people would be summoned over the next few days to provide explanations regarding their income-source declarations. Over 60,000 people – including MPs, cabinet members, judges, policemen and even soccer referees – have to fill in detailed forms every year listing their total assets, and those of their spouses and children, while explaining the source of the money used in purchases of real estate or other high-value assets. This number has spiralled over the past five years; in 1998, only 6,000 people were subject to the rule, imposed to crack down on rampant corruption. Even the Supreme Court’s underground car park has been enlisted to house the vast amount of declarations that have piled up since 1998.