A 4-month prison sentence, suspended for 3 years, was imposed by the Three-member Misdemeanor Court of Thessaloniki on a 45-year-old, who pretending to be an employee of the Ministry of Financerequested 2,000 euros from shop owner of health interest, to mediate so that an alleged tax audit of his business is thwarted.

The judges found him guilty of breach of principle and influence peddling, granting him the mitigating factor of sincere remorse, while acquitting him of the act of fraud, as the 36-year-old victim who reported him said he has been financially and morally rehabilitated.

As stated in the case file, the accused was arrested at the end of last month following a police operation in which he attended a pre-arranged meeting with the complainant receiving in pre-marked banknotes part of the amount he had agreed as a fee for his supposed services.

According to what the owner of the store, which is located in the center of Thessaloniki, testified, he received a message on his mobile phone that his store will be inspected by the tax department. “The sender of the message presented himself as a contractor at the Ministry of Finance in Athens and stated that he can influence another official who is corrupt and is being financed to thwart the audit. He asked for 1,000 euros so that the gang would not come to the store and another 1,000 euros to get off their list,” said the witness.

He added that he was not convinced and turned to EL.AS. He also emphasized that the 45-year-old – whom he knew as he used to run a business across the street from his shop – compensated him, after he had to close his shop for 24 hours for fear of the alleged inspection.

In his apology, the 45-year-old appeared remorseful, stating that he was in despair. “I don’t even know how I started this. It didn’t make any sense. I admitted it and regretted it from the first moment and apologized. I have never done it again. I understood that I went to hurt a person,” he said, among other things.