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Former Greek transport minister arrested over fake car plates

Source: Reuters - Tue, 17 Dec 2013 08:10 PM
Author: Reuters
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A Greek flag flutters atop the Greek Parliament as a full moon rises in central Athens November 18, 2013. Picture taken November 18. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis
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ATHENS, Dec 17 (Reuters) - A former Greek transport minister was arrested in Athens after running a stop sign in a luxury SUV that was discovered to have fake license plates, police officials said on Tuesday.

Mihalis Liapis, 62, served as transport and culture minister in the former conservative government in power from 2004 to 2009, before a debt crisis triggered public anger against a political and business elite widely viewed as privileged and corrupt.

The former minister did not have a driver's license or insurance documents for the SUV when he was stopped by police, the officials said.

The retired politician appeared before a prosecutor later in the day and was charged with forgery - for having fake plates - and providing tax authorities with false information by saying that he would no longer use the vehicle when he handed over the real plates in August.

He also faces a fine of up to 500 euros for not having a car insurance, according to court officials.

"I made a mistake," Liapis said in handcuffs, outside the prosecutor's office. "I will be punished accordingly."

Liapis was released and is expected to appear in court on Thursday.

Most violations of this kind incur misdemeanour charges and are punishable with fines in Greece.

Greece is implementing austerity measures and structural reforms in exchange for financial aid from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, that helps it stay afloat as it struggles to pull itself out of a six-year recession. (Reporting by Renee Maltezou; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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