ATHENS – Stepped-up enforcement from Greece’s Financial Crimes Squad SDOE has uncovered millions of euros in alleged tax evasion, including names from the Lagarde List of Greeks with secret deposits in a Swiss bank.
SDOE said its investigations during July found tax cheating remained rampant, even while the goverment is anxious to bring in critical cash, although much of the 70 billion euros owed by tax cheats seems uncollectible.
Investigators said that six people on the Lagarde List using the Geneva branch of HSBC had unspecified large accounts there and didn’t pay taxes on it, the Athens News Agency reported.
Others on the list, which is named for former French finance minister Christine Lagarde who turned it over to Greek authorities – only to see it vanish and not acted upon until a copy was revealed – were detected in previous probes.
Most of the overall cases involved the issuing or receipt of fake tax documents, such as fake invoices, as well as failure to issue receipts and file tax information on transactions.
It’s common for many businesses in Greece not to give receipts or to issue them for far less than what was paid, offering consumers a lower price in return for complicity.
Among those inspected were four private companies that issued fake tax documents amounting to 31,636,146 euros and paid no taxes for the transactions made.
While more publicity has been given to going after tax cheats, there hasn’t been any major cases prosecuted as it can up to 10 years to get through backlogged Greek courts which have short working hours.