Monday, May 13, 2013

Proud of representing mega-rich crooks!

The NYT quotes the prominent Athens criminal defense lawyer Michalis A. Dimatrakopoulos (who allegedly represents many of the top political and business figures under government investigation) as saying that 'he has clients with many billions of Euros overseas who will never bring their money back to Greece as long as killers have better legal rights than tax offenders'.

Yeah, one could intuitively react. He is right! I mean, where is this world coming to if killers have better legal rights than simple tax offenders!

Let's think, for a moment, what the above statement means in the context of value structures of a society. Here is a prominent citizen of Athens who sees absolutely nothing wrong in stating publicly that he represents many clients who are mega-rich crooks. He doesn't seem to be worried at all that this might negatively affect his 'prominence' in society. It would be interesting to know if Athens society outcasts him for saying something like this. I kind of doubt it.

I have no qualms about Mr. Dimatrakopoulos (I have never heard of him before). He is certainly entitled to say what he wants to say. We are all entitled to say what we want to say. However, in societies where value structures are more or less ok, people tend to say and do what they think is tolerable within the society's value structure. Unless they want to become social outcasts.

Can you imagine a Swiss banker/accountant/lawyer publicly saying that he represents mega-rich tax offenders from other countries?

Since Mr. Dimatrakopoulos obviously enjoys giving interviews, I would suggest that an honorable Greek TV station and/or newspaper invites him for an interview so that he can elaborate for the public why he thinks he is doing society a service by representing mega-rich crooks.


  1. Well, many people have heard of him before. They simply didn't notice him.

  2. I have participated in many discussions where the above argument about the society values was used. It doesn't seem to work as intented. I remember the counter-argument that a Swiss banker is a hypocrite, whereas Mr Dimitrakopoulos (or whatever guy we were talking about at the time, I don't remember anymore) is at least honest. There is a reason why cynisism is a Greek word.I am coming to the conclusion that the only think that can make somebody an outcast(ostrasize) is to attempt to slaughter the sacred cows of his society/group or attack the nonobvious money flows that people consider their due. In any case clan societies like Greece treat ostrasism differently from Western countries.
    I am nor even sure that society values mean something in the moral sense of the word. I know all this is a bit confusing and relativistic but I have not come up with something to replace the concept of society values.
    However, when all philosophical musings are said and done, Christos Y is right. MR. Dimitrakopoulos is an irrelevant old style & old time PASOK political hack that nobody pays any attention to anymore. This illustrates perfectly the problem of trying to understand country X through the lens of country Y. It distorts a lot, often to the point of incomprehensibility or even lying. Like it does when it gives a serious forum to a nobody like MR Dimitrakopoulos that may have looked important if Athens was NYC.

    1. The real problem is that most ordinary people don't get the chance to be immoral. The sort of weakness displayed by many corrupt politicians is simply due to their lack of inner direction. In having no focus, no respect, they see only their own gain.

      That's as true of a Greek politician as a British one. Remember the Westminster expenses scandals? Three of the fraudsters were so out of order that even a British judge couldn't let them off. The Dutch MPs - in a similar sting by de Telegraaf - were as clean as can be. Mind you, that's more due to their collective lack of imagination than any lack of greed.