ATHENS – Greek financial investigators are looking into the transfer of about 1.5 billion euros that civil servants sent to foreign bank accounts since the country’s crushing economic crisis and austerity measures four years ago.
It reportedly includes some 5,260 people who work for the state, nearly half of who were in the education sector while most of the rest were doctors, or worked for the ministries of Defense, Finance or Public Works.
The information surfaced after Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis issued an order for the Inspectors-Controllers Body for Public Administration (SEEDD) to conduct the checks
Some 415 of the workers, who had transferred 117 millon euros – an average of 283,000 euros each – had recently left public service for a number of reasons.
A statement released by the ministry noted that the investigation was expected to cover almost the entire civil service, with the exception of certain categories which did not fall under its jurisdiction, such as judges and police and Coast Guard officers, among others, who are protected from scrutiny and not checked.
In a separate development, Democratic Left chief Fotis Kouvelis and another five party MPs asked the government to clarify whether Greek authorities were investigating allegations made by Swiss prosecutors that certain Greek businessmen were conducting money-laundering activities via Swiss lenders.
Despite some limited attempts to curb tax evasion, the problem remains overwhelming and has allowed many wealthy and others using foreign accounts to avoid paying at the same that big pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and worker firings have hit workers, pensioners and the poor.