BUSINESS

Banks to help create a national register of offshore firm owners

TASOS TELLOGLOU

TAGS: Finance

Greek banks and the state are in the process of creating a national register for offshore company owners, in compliance with a European Union directive to that effect.

The register will be created on the Teiresias databank, known from its list of insolvent borrowers. Access will be granted to the authorities combatting the laundering of money from illegal activities, and to tax authorities. Notably, any entity – wherever it may be based – that performs transactions through the Greek banking system will now need to have a Greek tax registration number.

To date, Greek authorities only have lists of offshore companies that own real estate properties in Greece.

This development follows the revelation of the so-called Panama Papers, which led several foreign governments to take measures to control offshore companies. In the context of the Spring Meeting of the International Monetary Fund, the finance ministers of Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain decided to call on all countries to include in their national records the owners of such companies, trusts, foundations, shell companies etc.

However, in Greece the list will not include categories such as notaries, lawyers, brokerage firms and others linked to the creation of such companies or facilitating their operation. Bank officials say this would create unfair competition.

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