The Vanity Fair of October 1st publishes this article by Michael Lewis: Beware of Greeks Bearing Bonds.
In this long but very interesting article you read about Greek financial crisis and the role of Vatopediou. The writer visited the monastery and had a long conversation with the financial man of the monastery, Father Arsenios.
Here a part of his article:
That changed on October 4 of last year, when the Greek government turned over. A scandal felled the last government and sent Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis packing, which perhaps is not surprising. Whatâ€™s surprising was the nature of the scandal. In late 2008, news broke that Vatopaidi had somehow acquired a fairly worthless lake and swapped it for far more valuable government-owned land. How the monks did this was unclearâ€”paid some enormous bribe to some government official, it was assumed. No bribe could be found, however. It didnâ€™t matter: the furor that followed drove Greek politics for the next year. The Vatopaidi scandal registered in Greek public opinion like nothing in memory. â€œWeâ€™ve never seen a movement in the polls like we saw after the scandal broke,â€ the editor of one of Greeceâ€™s leading newspapers told me. â€œWithout Vatopaidi, Karamanlis is still the prime minister, and everything is still going on as it was before.â€ Dimitri Contominas, the billionaire creator of a Greek life-insurance company and, as it happens, owner of the TV station that broke the Vatopaidi scandal, put it to me more bluntly: â€œThe Vatopaidi monks brought George Papandreou to power.â€
Here an example how buseness was done:
For instance, after a famous Spanish singer visited and took an interest in Vatopaidi, he parlayed the interest into an audience with government officials from Spain. They were told a horrible injustice had occurred: in the 14th century a band of Catalan mercenaries, upset with the Byzantine emperor, had sacked Vatopaidi and caused much damage. The monastery received $240,000 from the government officials.
It takes a while to read the whole article, but I think it is worth it, because it explains a lot about the current situation in Greece and the mentality of some Greeks (how NOT to pay taxes)!
Wim, 17/9 (thanks to our reader Art)