A high-profile candidate of leftist SYRIZA party for the coming European Parliament election in May on Friday said she was dropping out of the race, hours after two Athens newspapers reported her alleged conviction of misdeamor social security fraud.
Myrsini Loizou, whose father was a well-known Greek composer in the 1970s and whose mother was a noted children's book writer, purportedly failed to report the death of her late mother in 2007 to the social security administration for five and a half years, instead pocketing her monthly pension payments. The "Liberal" and "Proto Thema" media groups said Loizou was ordered to pay back more than 50,000 euros, which with interest and penalty fees tacked on, now exceeds 90,000 euros.
At a first instance trial, her defense claimed, according to the media reports, that she suffered from a deep depression, the reason for her delay in reporting the death of her month to the social security administration. She was handed down a two-year suspended sentence.
The monthly stipend was identified as a "honorary pension" approved decades ago by the culture ministry, in recognition of both Manos Loizos and her mother, Μaro Loizou.
Loizou, 53, had come under scathing criticism last week when her candidacy was announced by the current ruling party, mostly for past social media posts expressing support for far-left terrorist attacks and convicted urban terrorists in the country.
In a hastily issued statement later on Friday, she blamed "bureaucratic obstacles" as causing the more than five-year delay in suspending the pension, and attacked the main opposition New Democracy party.
At the same time, she confirmed that she owes the tax bureau and social security funds arrears nearing 180,000 euros.