From 1998 to 1999, Alexi Giannoulias played professional basketball in Panionios B.C. Greece. That part we already knew.
But one thing we still don’t know is how an American with Greek citizenship was able to live in Greece without being drafted into the Greek military.
Under Greek law, all citizens must serve in the military once they turn 18. Much like in Israel, Greek citizens will perform a period of military service after high school.
Alexi Giannoulias was a college graduate when he came to Greece – an age meeting the requirement for military service. So how did he get around the requirement?
With many Americans holding dual Greek citizenship travelling to Greece, U.S. Embassy, Athens details the Greek government’s requirements for military service on its website.
According to the Embassy, Giannoulias could either have been considered a Permanent Resident of Abroad or a Draft Evader. If he was the former:
Permanent Residents of Abroad (MONIMOI KATOIKOI EXOTERIKOU):
Persons who were born or established residence abroad before January 1st of the year of their 10th birthday. Permanent residents of abroad may remain in Greece, without incurring any military obligations for a cumulative period of SIX MONTHS within the same calendar year, only if they are registered as “permanent residents of abroad” (monimos katoikos exoterikou) with the appropriate recruiting office, and are in possession of a certificate confirming their status (pistopoiitiko monimou katoikou exoterikou) issued by the Greek consulate having jurisdiction over their foreign residence. The above certificate is valid for six months from the date of issuance.
If he was a draft evader:
Special arrangements for persons classified as DRAFT EVADERS
Detailed information concerning settlement of military obligations for draft evaders can be obtained from the nearest Greek Diplomatic or Consular authority or the appropriate recruiting authority in Greece.
As of 7/04 the Greek law for military obligations provides that draft evaders may travel and stay in Greece for a maximum of thirty days (in total or partially) within the same calendar year.
The American Embassy in Athens strongly suggests that persons classified as draft evaders, should first check with the nearest Greek Consulate or appropriate recruiting authority in Greece before traveling to Greece.
And before 7/04, that 30 day allowance didn’t even exist.
Alexi Giannoulias has concentrated much of his campaign on attacking Mark Kirk’s military record. Ironically, Mark Kirk actually volunteered to serve in the military. If Alexi Giannoulias found a way to evade his own obligations, that should be national news.