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Athens Macedonian News Agency: News in English, 13-04-04

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

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] Stournaras to meet troika Thursday afternoon
  • [02] Greek gov't to examine ICIJ report on offshore companies

  • [01] Stournaras to meet troika Thursday afternoon

    AMNA - Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras will be meeting with the troika of lenders Thursday afternoon, instead of the original morning appointment, amid a lot of issues that still need to be resolved in the new round of negotiations.

    Topping the agenda is the issue of a unified tax proposed to replace the current tax on real estate, the new one to still be collected through the Public Power Corporation (DEI) bills, at least for this year. The government hopes that the EU, ECB and IMF of the troika of lenders will accept the proposal, agreed to by the three party leaders in the ruling coalition, in the expectation it can cover the gap in uncollected property fees for 2013.

    Also up for discussion is a new bill by the Administrative Reform Ministry that offers alternatives to the proposal by the troika for layoffs of 25,000 civil servants by including the calculation of natural attrition over time.

    The government will also have to deal with a lag in collection of revenues, along with a gap in expected revenues from insurance funds, has created tighter fiscal conditions in budgeting programming, also burdened by a recession of 5 pct, compounded by repercussions from the Cyprus economic crisis.

    The approval for the next loan tranche from the troika of 2.8 billion euros - the remainder of the December tranche -expected at the April 12 Eurogroup meeting in Ireland, may have to be delayed to the end of the month.

    In terms of releasing the tranche for the first quarter of 2013, totalling 6 billion euros, the troika heads will be reviewing, among others, the privatisation programme, the fiscal closing of 2012, the effectiveness of revenue collection in the first quarter of the year, and progress in the recapitalisation of banks.

    [02] Greek gov't to examine ICIJ report on offshore companies

    AMNA - The finance ministry will carefully examine the evidence unearthed by an investigation of offshore firms conducted by the International Consortium Of Investigative Journalists and take all appropriate action, finance ministry general secretary for revenues Haris Theoharis said on Thursday.

    The ICIJ's global report "Secrecy For Sale: Inside The Global Offshore Money Maze" - drawing on 2.5 million secret files and described as perhaps "the largest cross border journalism collaboration in history," - was published in the Greek newspaper "Ta Nea" on Thursday. It delves deep into the hidden world of tax havens, exposing the secrets of 120,000 offshore companies and trusts and almost 130,000 individuals in more than 170 countries.

    Most of the offshore companies of Greek interest included in these secret files are based in the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean.

    In total, the report revealed 107 offshore firms owned by Greek interests, of which only four were listed in the country's tax registers - as required in the case of companies economically active or having property assets in Greece. For the remaining 103, the Greek state possesses no information whatever.

    The investigation also showed that two of the Greek-owned offshore companies were used for the purchase and renovation of the cruise ship "Christina O" that once belonged to shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, others have links with companies given defence contracts by the Greek state, while others are linked to individuals involved in the trade of bonds.

    The Greek owners of offshore firms originate from various parts of the country, ranging from company executives to ship owners and even ordinary middle-class families.

    The British Virgin Islands are home to roughly 500,000 active offshore companies, which represent approximately 40 percent of the world total. Their activity and rapid proliferation is linked with their owners' efforts to retain their anonymity and this, in turn, is often linked to tax evasion and other forms of financial crime.


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