Myconos officials face graft trial

Two mayors, two deputy mayors and three municipal employees are to be charged this month with allowing dozens of hotels and rooms-to-let businesses on Myconos not to pay dues to the local authority, sources said yesterday. It is believed that the island’s municipal coffers were at least 6 million euros short as a result of the seven suspects failing to collect an annual tax from local hoteliers that amounted to 2 percent of their pretax earnings. Sources said that following an investigation by a Syros-based magistrate that covered the period from 2002 to 2009, the seven will be charged before the end of the month with breach of duty, which carries a jail sentence of up to 20 years. Among those due to be charged are current Myconos Mayor Thanasis Kousathanas-Megas, former Mayor Christos Veronis and deputy mayors Alexandros Vamvakouris and Thrasyvoulos Kontomitros. Three municipal employees have also been charged with forgery, embezzlement, stealing documents and making false statements. The bank accounts of the seven suspects have been inspected but according to sources no suspicious deposits were identified. Although authorities suspect the businesses that were not charged the 2 percent tax by the municipality paid some form of bribe for the privilege, no trace of illegal payments has been found. According to sources, the Myconos Municipality failed to keep detailed records of all the hotels and rooms-to-let on the Cycladic island. Instead of updating the list every year, so the tax could be levied regularly, officials only did so every five years, allowing many hoteliers to get away without paying.