No Funds To Fight Greek Corruption

Greece's anti-corruption chief Yiannis Tentes
Greece’s anti-corruption chief Yiannis Tentes

While Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras has been touting his push to cut down the level of corruption in Greece – the highest in the European Union – an anti-graft chief hired last summer said he’s still waiting for funding, saying it’s been hampered by people who don’t want wrongdoing to be uncovered.

Former Supreme Court prosecutor Yiannis Tentes said in an interview with Sunday’s Kathimerini that a lack of funding is hampering efforts to fight corruption and that if this is not addressed he will start publicly naming the people who are failing to fulfill their duties.

He said money promised to put an anti-corruption office together has not materialized and he suspects its’ deliberate to thwart attempts to root out graft and bribery which affects almost all aspects of Greek life, from civil servants who want money to speed an application, to doctors asking for money to perform operations, and up to ministers.

“The funds are there but, unfortunately, due to purely bureaucratic reasons and people fearing responsibility, their distribution is being unacceptably delayed,” he said. “I am being patient but if this situation continues I will start attributing responsibility,” he warned.

Tentes suggested that the funds could be used to raise awareness but also to purchase equipment. “Our strategy against corruption includes a variety of measures and policies,” he said.

“It includes technical assistance, education programs, awareness schemes and strengthening the judicial system with modern information systems and equipment that could improve its productivity.”

Even without his office operating, he said there are signs corruption is being reduced, especially with the long jail sentences given to former defense minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos after being convicted of money laundering and former Thessaloniki mayor Vassilis Papageorgopoulos for embezzling 18 million euros ($24.8 million).

“Statistics show that corruption has been on the wane during the last few years,” he said. “I have reason to believe that to a large degree this is due to the visibly greater activity from prosecutors and courts.”

In 2012, the Athens office of Transparency International said an estimated 554 million euros ($764.18 million) was paid in bribes in the public sector the previous year, down from 632 million euros ($871.7 million) in 2010.

Hospitals, tax offices and town-planning offices ranked top of the list of public services where “fakelakia” (literally “small envelopes,” or bribes) were paid to officials.

The agency’s Athens chief, Costas Bakouris, earlier told SKAI TV that,  “In some cases, the laws actually condone graft.

His comments came in the wake of an IT study which found the country’s judiciary, the media and the business world to be the most susceptible to corruption.


  1. The Greek public should consider Yiannis Tentes as a hero for his exasperated efforts to fight corruption. It is unfortunately quite believable that his efforts are being thwarted from the top. And why the top? because that’s where the corruption and graft is the most debilitating, obvious and intractable.

    Not getting the proper funding to control and investigate the wrong-doings in this country is an affront to the people who pay the taxes to see their nation get itself in order. Once again the priorities are being railroaded by the political elite who control the judiciary and together fill their pockets.

    It is a travesty that the monies are purposely not being made available to fight such crimes. This is simply some indication of just how pervasive and massive the corruption is and to from what sector it emanates from.

    A grass-roots initiative by the general public should be organized to petition, demonstrate and even collect funds to be given for the purposes of this important work. The public should overcome these controls put upon Mr. Tentes and his small staff to allow them to do the work of cleaning house.

  2. “an anti-graft chief hired last summer said he’s still waiting for funding, saying it’s been hampered by people who don’t want wrongdoing to be uncovered.”

    This alleged “anti-graft” chief should be fired for incompetently claiming such a ridiculous thing.

  3. Sure buddy. You care about the Greek people. This is why you treasonously call the Skopians threatening our country “macedonians”

  4. Yiannis Tentes should add his name to the corrupt. Rather than simply say he needs more funding, he LIES for the sake populists (like anti-Greek T-nto above) by ridiculously claiming some illuminati are trying to prevent him from doing his job.

    If what he says were true, as someone allegedly against corruption, Mr. Tentes should have provided the police an exact list of names of whom prevented him, what they did and evidence — rather than empty slander.

  5. I see you are “stalking” me again, my friend. Yes I do care about the Greek people as they are in my family. I also see a few up-votes for my comments. Where are yours?

  6. Sure you care about the Greek people… you show if by supporting Skopions and sounding like a populist extremist. You irrational over-the-top anti-government rants, with communists and fascists waiting in the wings, is the *only* reason you get up votes. You hate any Greek party that has a Greek party that has a Greek identity. Antihellenism is your real agenda bigot.

  7. I sincerely hope you are willing to acknowledge and take responsibility for your verbal attacks each time you respond. What ever happened to just addressing the issues as outlined in the “Community Guidlines” specified for this forum?

    Your hostility and refusal to play on a fair and respectful playing field just reveals your own ethics and shortcomings. Much like your taking delight in announcing to the readership here things like I am a “Skopian sympathizer” who supports “ethnic Macedonians”:–all of which I stand on my written records as being false claims (check any of my some 750 comments, of which I can boast of otherwise).

    I suppose to be your personal bete noire on here must be somewhat entertaining to you, but trust me, few others really care. I guess I should be flattered that you “stalk” me and read all my comments so carefully, then respond to each with a personal attack and name calling, but even this has become tedious to others..

    Nevertheless, polish is polish my friend, and the public takes note of such things. I suppose its a matter of personal pride that I will not level any such hateful remarks or profanity toward you as an opponent in debate. And I do this out of a level of principle you obviously do not possess.

    I have been taught to defer to our “higher angels” when angry or upset and show restraint when facing an opponent. These should be the rules of engagement here. Decorum is decorum.

    Perhaps the reality is that you never really anger me as much as I anger you. I guess one of us just doesn’t take the other quite so seriously and sees him more in a comical context. Nevertheless, the public in the end forms their opinions of us based on character.

    In summary, I don’t believe your angry and pointed rants through name-calling are helping your popularity much. Try a little constraint in your comments and use a bit more grace under fire.

    Once again, it was probably an ancient Greek who once said. “I may not agree with your opinion, but i will fight to the death for you to express it.”

    Certainly words to live by.

  8. You had no problem with verbal attacking me with rants about my being racist, fascists and psychotic. Your pathetic attempt to narrate yourself as a victim is simply transparent attempt to silence me.

    Your repeated assurances of how allegedly popular you are only demonstrates how illogical you are.

    If you don’t support former Yugoslavians, stop calling the Macedonians. Condemn their behavior and those that apologize for them. Stop blaming Greeks for it.

    In summary — you have not at all demonstrated a respect for free speech. You have repeatedly threatened to attempt to silence me for strongly criticizing those that continue to call the Skopian propagandists Macedonians (including yourself).

  9. Just stick to the Community Guidelines of this site and we will both live to fight another day.

    Free speech is always a privilege not just a “right” when you are dealing with a private enterprise such as this site. It is clearly stated that is will be upheld under the condition that participants maintain standards of civic behavior and responsibility to work with the laws that enable it.

    Personal attacks, profanity and cyber “stalking” could possibly remove that privilege from you or me.

    So let’s play by the rules of engagement. And stick to the issues–not merely attack the messenger.

    I have no problem with this requirement–why do you?

  10. Why don’t you stick to the community guidelines by not supporting hate against greeks? How about not slandering me as “racist”, “fascist” and psychotic if you are for civic behavior as you claim?

    Freespeech is a right not a “privilege”. One can chose to allow it. Or one can chose to silence it. We can see what side you are on by your ongoing attempts to narrate yourself a victim to attempt to silence me.

    I am one the sticking to the issues… and the issue for me is people like you effectively colluding with wannabe ethnic cleansers of Greeks by taking the Skopian side of the name dispute. If you don’t like being portrayed in that negative light, stop doing it. Stop calling them Macedonians. Condemn the Skopians behavior instead of Greeks.

  11. To any Greeks, please notice the T-nto refuses to stop calling the Skopians propagandists “Macedonians” (despite knowing full well they are not Macedonians and that they abuse the name to threaten Greece)

    The evasive antihellenic bigot is once again trying to silence me for condemning his support of blatantly obvious NON-Macedonian propagandists in FYROM manipulating the name Macedonia to threaten Greece.

    “This (US) government considers talk of Macedonian “nation”, Macedonian “Fatherland”, or Macedonia “national consciousness” to be unjustified demagoguery representing no ethnic nor political reality, and sees in its present revival a possible cloak for aggressive intentions against Greece” – US State Department Dec, 1944 (Foreign Relations Vol. VIII Washington D.C. Circular Airgram – 868.014/26)