Probe into tax inspector’s suicide

The Athens prosecutor’s office ordered an investigation yesterday into the suicide of a tax official who had been handling a number of cases, including a probe into the accounting practices at Alter TV station. Prosecutors have asked to see the file that has been compiled by police following the death of the 63-year-old official before looking into what may have driven him to kill himself. The official, who was not named, was found dead at his home in Lagonissi, southeast of Athens, on Tuesday night after jumping from the roof of the building. He was killed instantly. Court of first instance prosecutor Eleni Raikou is overseeing the investigation into the tax man’s death. A stir has been caused by the fact that the news of the tax inspector’s suicide was not announced by the police, nor did it receive any significant coverage in the local media. The official did not leave any suicide note but friends who attended his funeral yesterday suggested that he had expressed concern about the pressure he was under and that he wanted to leave his job. Friends and relatives insisted that the tax inspector was not corrupt and that somebody must have backed him into a corner before he decided to take his own life. The official joined the tax office in 1986 and had been responsible for conducting checks on various companies. One of his recent assignments was to conduct a follow-up check on the accounts of Alter TV station, Greece’s sixth most popular channel, which began broadcasting in 1994. The head of the tax collectors’ union, Yiannis Grivas, told Skai radio that Alter had been fined 50 million euros for issuing bogus invoices following the first check on its accounts but this penalty was withdrawn after its books were checked a second time.

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