More information emerged on Friday in relation to the arrest of seven individuals, of which five are tax bureau (AADE) employees in the south-central city of Halkida, on charges of demanding bribes by taxpayers seeking to avoid audits.

According to a report on Mega Channel, judicial authorities are now focusing on the spending habits of the seven accused defendants, one of which is the Halkida tax bureau director.

Up until now, according to Mega, authorities have located at least two luxury villas with pools, one belonging to a local accountant, who is among those arrested, and the other to the tax bureau director. At least two of the suspects reportedly exhibited a lavish lifestyle that attracted attention in the Halkida area.

Two of the seven were remanded to custody pending trial, while the other five were released on bail.

In their initial statements before an investigating magistrate, all seven denied any wrongdoing, while attributing the allegations against them to a disgruntled local businessman trying to avoid audits.

Asked about the figures writing down on a notepad, which approximate to monetary sums, the accused high ranking tax official claimed they were the bureau’s “expenses and revenues”.

On the administrative side, all five employees were suspended and face an internal probe that could lead to dismissal.

Another tax bureau official is under investigation but not jailed, along with another four local accountants. The reason they were not arrested is because they were not apprehended “red-handed” (In flagrante delicto), as the law mandates.

The case emerged when the local businessman contacted AADE’s internal affairs unit last November and provided details over the alleged blackmail and bribery.