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Three Greek ex-ministers charged with tax evasion

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

A Greek prosecutor has charged three former ministers with failing to properly declare their wealth and revenue in order to avoid tax.

The charges laid Wednesday came two days after another ex-minister, Akis Tsochatzopoulos, received an eight-year jail term for hiding his revenue in the first of a series of trials related to his years in power.

Tsohatzopoulos, 73, has denied the charges and plans to appeal.

The court cases come at a time when Greece is suffering from heavy debt levels and amid tough austerity measures.

The latest prominent figures targeted by the Athens prosecutors are prominent socialist Yiannos Papantoniou, a former finance minister, and two conservatives; former public order minister George Voulgarakis and former deputy finance minister Petros Doukas.

Papantoniou and Voulgarakis are charged with failing to declare money held in accounts in the 2000s in their wives' names -- $2.2 million (1.7 million euros) and 117,000 euros respectively

Doukas is charged over an undeclared sum of 1.1 million euros and could face five years in jail after the tax laws were toughened up in 2010 as the debt crisis worsened, making it easier to bring politicians to criminal trial.

Greece's coalition government has made a point of cracking down on tax evasion and fraud among the country's elite amid a public backlash over the severe austerity measures required to secure a financial bailout from the EU and the IMF.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130306/three-greek-ex-ministers-charged-tax-evasion