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Athens News Agency: News in English, 10-06-19

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] SDOE outlines recent actions to uncover tax evasion, corruption
  • [02] President briefed on labour law
  • [03] New wave of strikes

  • [01] SDOE outlines recent actions to uncover tax evasion, corruption

    Greece's financial crimes squad SDOE on Friday released details of action it has taken in recent months to uncover incidents of tax evasion and corruption, such as checking for swimming pools and leisure boats that are undeclared or registered to offshore companies, major real estate deals and inspecting the books of night clubs, doctors and notaries.

    It also gave details of the results of its inspections and further leads it is currently investigating.

    Among the more notable of its findings was the fact that cross-checks of the tax statements given by notaries showed that 63 percent of those checked had discrepancies exceeding 100,000 euros between their declared profits and revenues.

    SDOE officers have also obtained records from construction companies concerning owners of swimming pools, which will now be checked against their tax statements to discover whether the pools have been declared.

    Further investigation of lawyers' offices and leisure boat import companies have unveiled 35 cases of high-profile owners of luxury leisure craft exceeding 30 metres in length that whose businesses were actually declaring a loss.

    Also underway is an investigation of some 200 properties apparently owned by off-shore companies, to discover their ownership status and whether they pay taxes, while contracts for the sale of large real estate holdings are being examined.

    SDOE also reported uncovering 449 tax violations during 802 inspections on night clubs and restaurants in Attica during April and May, saying that these businesses will be closed for a specific period of time based on the new tax laws.

    The financial crimes squad is also carrying out systematic checks for such things as illegal returns of VAT on agricultural goods, fake doctors' prescriptions burdening social insurance funds, hospital procurements, Greek Navy procurements and opening the accounts of surgeons and doctors working in diagnostic centres or the state health service.

    Apart from the above, SDOE is currently involved in the investigation for the Vatopedi Monastery land swaps and the Siemens case, as well as an examination of share capital increases by 333 companies listed on the Athens Stock Exchange between 1998 and 2002.

    [02] President briefed on labour law

    Labour Minister Andreas Loverdos on Friday briefed President Karolos Papoulias on the changes to labour law agreed between the government and representatives of the IMF, the ECB and the European Commission and on other issues that fall under the labour ministry's purview.

    Speaking before reporters, President Papoulias told Loverdos that these are "tough times", expressing the hope that "a fight will be given to limit the losses and convince society that the sacrifices made will bring better days."

    On his part, the labour minister admitted that "times are very difficult", stressing that he finds "strength in the faith that the efforts made by the government are aimed at salvaging the country."

    "No personal or political cost will be taken into account during this effort," he said.

    Loverdos expressed the belief that the country will overcome this ordeal "through our own efforts", pointing out that "we are making an effort in consultation with our partners and lenders to take the measures we have to take while, at the same time, safeguarding as much as we can in these difficult circumstances."

    He pointed out that there have been no other proposals on behalf of the troika (IMF, ECB, EC) and added that "we will see in the process how these relations will be shaped."

    [03] New wave of strikes

    The scene looks set for a long, hot summer, with a new wave of strikes ushering in the second half of June. This includes a 24-hour nationwide strike on June 29 called by the country's two largest union organisations - GSEE and ADEDY - against planned changes to pension and labour law and an ongoing strike by teachers marking the nationwide university entrance exams.

    After a brief hiatus over the weekend, meanwhile, workers on the Athens metro will resume rolling work stoppages from Monday to protest against the management's refusal to renew the contracts of 286 workers hired before the elections. According to the Public Administration Inspector, their contracts were illegal because they were hired during the pre-election period. Metro workers are additionally demanding that they be exempted from the general public sector pay cuts imposed by the government.

    The strike by examination markers will continue until next Tuesday, based on a decision by the board of the highschool teachers' union OLME. This strike is also held over cuts in pay. The strike has delayed the announcement of results in university entrance examinations, with Education Minister Anna Diamantopoulou reporting that one quarter of papers in Attica remained to be marked.

    In a decision on Friday, meanwhile, the plenum of bar association presidents announced that lawyers will abstain from court appearances and other duties from June 23 until July 7.

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