BUSINESS

Authorities probe bogus companies

TAGS: Finance

The Independent Authority for Public Revenue is seeking out the real owners behind shell companies that owe the Greek state huge amounts of money, and a recent verdict by the State Legal Council should facilitate the authorities’ search to that end.

The decision says that in cases where bogus enterprises – set up only to shoulder a taxpayer’s debts and then allowed to go bankrupt – have expired debts the real owners and not those presented as corporate officials (or “frontmen”) will be the focus of debt collection provided by law, following the appropriate inspection process.

Of course the work of the inspectors is far from simple, as the establishment of the real owner of a company requires in-depth investigation and possibly testimonies from the people who have cooperated with them in those shell firms or may have had transactions with them.

The expired debts that those bogus enterprises owe to the Greek state run up to tens of billions of euros. For instance, State Audit Council data show that the fines imposed on bogus companies for various tax regulation violations alone add up to some 12 billion euros and are growing every year.

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