ATHENS - Kapeleris Ioannis was getting ready to name names. The villains would be taken by surprise, he said darkly. And then, Greece's chief financial crimes investigator laughed.
In a country where face matters, unmasking Greece's most flagrant tax violators is a fearsome threat. Some critics warn that the "naming and shaming" campaign will smear citizens before they've been proven guilty of any crimes.
But these are desperate days: Sleepy, sun-washed Greece has become an international symbol of financial malfeasance and big government run amok. And so, in recent days, the finger-pointing began — the Finance Ministry singling out dozens for allegedly swindling the state.
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At a time of public fury over slashed retirement benefits, massive layoffs and reduced salaries forced by huge debt, Greeks are in the mood for something radical. And although the government is an easily identifiable target of the rage, there is also deep frustration at the more amorphous idea of wealth and corruption.
There is a sense, on the one hand, that many Greeks have cheated, at least a little — from the grocer who doesn't hand over a receipt to the conglomerates pumping up their profits by importing goods through dummy offshore companies.
But there is also a palpable indignation, especially among retirees, civil servants and struggling laborers, over having to pay out of pocket for the misdeeds of the more powerful.
"I want to know who they are," said Dialina Vasiliki, a 53-year-old civil servant in the Defense Ministry, as she strolled along a shaded street of fashionable boutiques. "They should be punished."To read full Los Angeles Times story — Go Here Now.
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