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Greek Tax Evasion Fines Approach EUR1bn

by Lorys Charalambous,, Cyprus

02 August 2016

The total amount of fines handed out to Greek taxpayers with suspected undisclosed foreign assets has reached EUR810m (USD905m) as a result of recent investigations, the Government's anti-corruption unit has announced.

According to a July 29 government press release, Special Financial Prosecutor Panagiotis Athanasiou said that the Government is intensifying efforts to collect back taxes, having boosted the number of tax investigators significantly.

Most of the investigative leads have come from the so-called "Lagarde" and "Borjans" lists. These contained details of Greek citizens with undeclared Swiss bank accounts and were obtained by the Greek Government from whistleblowers in the Swiss banking industry.

Out of the 2,000 Greek citizens named on the Lagarde list, investigators have tax evasion cases pending against 191. Over 1,000 cases have been initiated against Greek taxpayers appearing on the Borjans list, which was acquired by Anti-Corruption Secretary General George Vassiliadis in November 2015.

The Government's crackdown on corruption has also yielded results, according to the release, with more than 1,300 cases investigated since July 2013. Of these, 200 have been concluded and a further 130 are pending. Eleni Raikou, the Special Prosecutor against Corruption, said that corruption cases involving defense contracting have yielded over EUR40m in cash settlements, with an additional EU450m worth of assets seized.

Tax evasion remains a huge problem for Greece as it attempts to increase tax revenues. According to research by diaNEOsis, in collaboration with Ernst & Young, tax evasion costs the Greek Government the equivalent of up to nine percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in tax revenues every year.

The report concluded that between EUR11bn and EUR16bn in tax is evaded each year by Greek taxpayers, or six to nine percent of GDP.

TAGS: tax | banking | Greece | Tax | Tax Evasion

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