It’s the contrast that makes it so damning.
There was the great Akis Tsochatzopoulos, former Defense Minister in the late 1990s under Costas Simitis, being sentenced to 20 years for money laundering, amongst other crimes.
He may have taken roughly 150 euros in bribes in his heyday, back when he bought weapon systems for Greece to defend itself.
What if he pocketed a little extra cash for himself at the taxpayers’ expense. Afterall everybody does it in Greece as co-founder of PASOK, doesn’t he deserve some security in his old age?
Stealing can usually be justified. I have a family to feed. I need the extra cash. I am not paid what I deserve in this position, etc.
We’ve all been there. And it’s always tempting.
At the end of the day, it’s still wrong no matter how you slice it. Now a hungry family is one thing, a little extra pocket change to the tune of 150 million euros quite another.
Akis, you may not recognize the verdict but you screwed up. Face it. And despite your protestations and your lawyer’s claim that the charges were unfair, they were.
Even your wife and daughter are guilty. Doesn’t that say something to you?
Yet, just as Greek justice got it right in one case, here comes the trial of journalist Costas Vaxevanis for publishing the Lagarde list of possible tax cheats.
Last year when he was brought before the magistrate for the same charges, his case was dismissed.
The prosecutor was not happy so he tried again. This time, there will be a trial. This is justice?
His only crime is to let the public know of the 2059 names on the list. A week later, the same list was published in Ethnos but no one there is being prosecuted. Why not?
One step forward, two steps back.
We want to believe that Greece moves ahead, reforms itself, enters the 21st century, tries to shed its sectarian, divided past.
And just when we think we’ve turned a corner, Bamm. Let’s put Costas on trial.
It’s worrisome, not the end of the world, but worrisome.
Let’s see where the trial goes.
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