Why doesn't Greece prosecute tax evaders?

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YoMo2
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Why doesn't Greece prosecute tax evaders?

Postby YoMo2 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:18 am

Well, I don't know. Perhaps it's not that easy. Check out this article about secret bank accounts held by UK citizens with HSBC in Switzerland.

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-31248913

Just one telling little comment from the article: ..........."The documents include details of almost 7,000 British clients - and many of the accounts were not declared to the taxman.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) was given the leaked data in 2010 and has identified 1,100 people who had not paid their taxes. But almost five years later, only one tax evader has been prosecuted."

Looks like HMRC is no better than the Greek tax man.

Andrew

Kilkis
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Re: Why doesn't Greece prosecute tax evaders?

Postby Kilkis » Mon Feb 09, 2015 11:31 am

From the description this is the same story that is referred to as the Lagarde List in Greece. The whistle-blower at Swiss HSBC gave a list of some 100,000 clients to the French authorities when Christine Lagarde was Minister of Finance. The French authorities sorted the data by country and provided a list of their citizens who were on the list to each national government. The Greek government made copies, removing some names in the process, destroyed the original and then put it in a drawer and forgot about it. It sounds like HMRC didn't do very much more. Strange that it is only making news in the UK now five years after HMRC received the list.

Greece didn't do anything because the people on the list were relatives of MPs or high up officials, including the person who received the list, or were rich supporters of ND and PASOK. I suspect HMRC didn't do very much because banks like HSBC simply tell the government that if they come down on them too hard they'll take their ball and go play somewhere else. The big investment banks are mainly head-quartered in London because it is much easier to perpetrate bank fraud there and nothing is done to stop them. If the UK government started to crack down on this fraud there would be no advantage in being in London. Approximately 80 % of the UK economy is now the service sector and financial services make up about 10 % of GDP. Most of that is in the large investment banks so it would only take five or six banks to relocate and most of that 10 % would be wiped out. If you then take out the companies supporting the financial sector UK GDP might drop by around 20 %. It is also a major part of UK exports so balance of payments would take a massive hit.

Expect another of the so called "fines" to make it look like something has been done.

Warwick

YoMo2
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Re: Why doesn't Greece prosecute tax evaders?

Postby YoMo2 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 3:17 pm

It does seem odd this has been dragged up now.

Agree also with your reasoning on why the banks just plough on regardless. But does that explain why only one individual has been prosecuted? Seems inexcusable to me.

Andrew

Barbary Coaster
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Re: Why doesn't Greece prosecute tax evaders?

Postby Barbary Coaster » Mon Feb 09, 2015 3:29 pm

YoMo2 wrote:It does seem odd this has been dragged up now.

Andrew


Its very strange - you would think there was an election soon !
Despite the high cost of living it remains popular

SteveH
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Re: Why doesn't Greece prosecute tax evaders?

Postby SteveH » Mon Feb 09, 2015 5:10 pm

If you are wondering what happened in Germany? here's a little snippet from an interview in 2013 with Hervé Falciani, in "Der Spiegal International:-

http://www.spiegel.de/.../interview-hsbc-swiss-bank...

SPIEGEL: Did you also offer your information to German authorities?
Falciani: Three years ago, I offered my help and made direct contact through my lawyer.
SPIEGEL: And?
Falciani: Nothing happened.
SPIEGEL: Why was that?
Falciani: I ask myself the same question....(See link for the rest.....)

I've always maintained that corruption is endemic everywhere & it's just that some cultures & countries are better at hiding it (or more practised...). :wink:

Paleo
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Re: Why doesn't Greece prosecute tax evaders?

Postby Paleo » Mon Feb 09, 2015 5:36 pm

If Greece were to prosecute every person who (knowingly or unknowingly) evaded paying tax, they may as well throw up a barbed wire fence around the whole country and declare it an open prison.

Tim
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Re: Why doesn't Greece prosecute tax evaders?

Postby Tim » Mon Feb 09, 2015 7:10 pm

YoMo2 wrote: But almost five years later, only one tax evader has been prosecuted."


Andrew


The reason for this, according to an HMRC spokesman on the radio this morning is that tax evasion/avoidance cases are difficult to prosecute, can drag on for years and cost millions of pounds. Their preferred method of dealing with this is to take out a civil action where the burden of proof is lower and they have not only more chance of winning, but it's cheaper and there's a better chance of the taxpayer getting some of his (our) money back. Of course the quid pro quo is that the tax evader/avoider doesn't do any prison time.

Tim

Kilkis
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Re: Why doesn't Greece prosecute tax evaders?

Postby Kilkis » Mon Feb 09, 2015 7:34 pm

I suspect it goes along the lines of, "We think you have been avoiding tax and you owe us £30 million. Give us £1 million and we'll call it quits." Then they can say that all the cases have been dealt with at minimum cost to the tax payer and look, we've clawed back £150 million. Aren't we clever. Nobody mentions that it should have been several billion.

They also have a major problem with all types of fraud cases, including tax evasion. Because of cuts in legal aid budgets, barristers are refusing to act for defendants in such cases because they are so long and drawn out. If they take a case to court and no barrister is prepared to act for the defendants the judge throws the case out. I think it's happened several times now in some pretty big cases.

Warwick

YoMo2
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Re: Why doesn't Greece prosecute tax evaders?

Postby YoMo2 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:47 pm

You cannot be serious!!

Dodgy tax evader/fraudster: "Well m'Lud, I can't get a barrister to represent me I'm afraid."

High Court Judge: "Oh, OK, well run along then."

You couldn't make it up.....

Andrew

Kilkis
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Re: Why doesn't Greece prosecute tax evaders?

Postby Kilkis » Mon Feb 09, 2015 11:17 pm

YoMo2 wrote:You cannot be serious!!...


Report here: http://www.blogs.findlaw.co.uk/solicito ... -case.html Admittedly the FCA won an appeal over the original judges decision to dismiss but the trial has still not gone ahead as far as I know.

Warwick

Clio
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Re: Why doesn't Greece prosecute tax evaders?

Postby Clio » Wed Feb 11, 2015 2:02 pm


SteveH
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Re: Why doesn't Greece prosecute tax evaders?

Postby SteveH » Wed Feb 11, 2015 4:06 pm

Yes indeed Clio...

I like the comment in the article you linked too were it's reported that George Papandreou says:- "Falciani’s claims are “contrary to the truth.”."

Interesting phrasing? Maybe it was only 450 million?

My hosts never did get there referendum on the "Bailout plan" as promised by George. He disappeared from the political scene very quickly.

It was also interesting how quickly Christine legaurd was elevated to the IMF at this time. It was a coincidence of course! Although it may look like she may be becoming more aware of the Greek populations plight now...

In July 2012, as the Greek economy continued to decline, and the country's leaders asked for an easing of the terms of external assistance, Lagarde said she was "not in the negotiation or renegotiation mood at all." A year later, though, with her own organization conceding that its "rescue" package for Greece had fallen short of what was required, Lagarde—having previously said that Greece's debt burden was "sustainable"—decided that Greece would not recover unless its debt was written off in a meaningful way.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christine_Lagarde (Under the heading "Payback" controversy)

So much "Dull scugary"... Lets just hope that Yanis is doing his job for the best of reasons & not working his trade for a better job upstairs... Personally I don't think he is, but he better get used to the tentative job invites...


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