The trial of 19 executives from two energy companies accused of defrauding the state is due to resume on February 5 after the suspects proposed on their first day in court Friday to return 103 million euros.
The 19 Hellas Power and Energa executives are accused of withholding from the state 257 million euros they had collected from customers in payment for a property tax that was levied through electricity bills. The suspects are disputing the figure and have offered to return 103 million euros, which is currently frozen in the two company’s accounts. They are seeking to take advantage of a recent law that allows courts to hand down more lenient sentences for financial crimes if money has been paid back into public coffers.
Greece’s anti-money laundering authority froze 103 million euro in the two companies’ bank accounts in February 2012 following an investigation into their activities. The two firms, which resold electricity provided by the Public Power Corporation, were founded amid efforts to increase competition in the energy market.
The two companies are accused of embezzling 257 million euros from the Greek state through a special property tax levied through electricity bills. The companies allegedly collected the levies but subsequently failed to hand the money over to the state.
The move by the Energa and Hellas Power executives came just a few days after former Transport and Communications Minister Tasos Mantelis offered to return 230,000 euros he received from Germany’s Siemens in return for a more lenient sentence in his bribery trial.