Ex-official who made tax list saw paltry returns

The former head of the Finance Ministry’s tax inspection department, who quit her post in late 2012 after her attempt to crack down on large-scale tax evaders stalled following a shift in government strategy, has told Kathimerini that only 1 percent of some 120 million euros in taxes owed by hundreds of construction firms, politicians and civil servants has been collected.

According to Katerina Frantzeskaki, who compiled a list of 1,700 suspected tax evaders in 2011, checks were carried out on around 700 of the people on the list within a year.

The progress of the investigation was “very good,” Frantzeskaki said, noting that apart from identifying pending tax debts the probes gave rise to new leads.

But a decision in November 2012, by Deputy Finance Minister Giorgos Mavraganis, transferred the responsibility for inspecting suspects on that list from Frantzeskaki’s team to a new service which has since been abolished.

Frantzeskaki, who resigned from her post in the same month of 2012, told Kathimerini that she found the move incomprehensible. She added that, although the tax debts of some 700 people on the list were found to amount to 120 million euros, only 1 percent of this sum has returned to state coffers.

The majority of suspected tax evaders on the list were construction companies, she said, adding that “politicians, civil servants and others” were also on the list.