Greece Targets Online Gambling Tax EvadersAugust 29, 2011 9:21 am
Caught in the eye of the global financial storm, Greece has recently been trying to get its house in order by grappling with the country’s corruption and tax evasion epidemic.
Set as one of the conditions for its economic bail-out, Greece is now determined to reduce the estimated €15 billion (£13.2bn) in missing taxes which fail to materialise each year for the government.
Consequently, a new team, known as the Financial Police and Electronic Crimes Squad, has been set up with around 200 officers tasked with going after the tax dodgers.
Over half the squad are postgraduates in finance, accounting or information technology, and their increased powers include enabling them to obtain details on bank accounts and stock market activities. Another area which has been marked for closer examination is that of online gambling, with the head of the new squad Christos Papoutsis stating:
“The police estimates that the turnover for this is 5 billion euros a year and that the state misses out on 2 billion euros as a result. Greek banks are unwitting accomplices in this because all the transactions are done using credit cards.”
In support of the new government offensive, a hot-line has now been arranged to allow citizens to report any suspected activities, with an investigation followed by a tax evasion prosecutions awaiting anyone found guilty.
Greece has long been considered one of Europe’s worst offenders when it comes to tax evasion, which has now become a way of life in the Mediterranean country. Part of the reason is due to difficulties faced in communication and coordination between mainland Greece and its 227 inhabitable islands.
Highlighting the governments resolve to now tackle the age old problem, Christos Papoutsis commented:
“The government is determined, society is determined and demands transparency, checks, apportioning of responsibilities and punishment of offenders.”