NEWS

MPs approve staffing of agency for tackling money laundering

Parliament’s Institutions Committee on Tuesday approved the new permanent members of the authority that is responsible for combatting money laundering and the funding of terrorism, as well as inspections of derivation of wealth declarations.

With a vote of 16 in favor, two “presents” and three abstentions, MPs approved 12 high-ranking public sector officials to run the agency. Their appointment was approved by all the parties in the House, save the Greek Communist Party (KKE) and far-right Golden Dawn.

Addressing the committee, Paraskevi Theodoropoulou, one of the members of the agency’s first unit, noted the progress made last year, saying that the authority orders the seizure of 444 bank accounts in 2016 for a sum of 300 million euros, against 401 seizures in 2015 for 235 million euros.

Gerasimos Paraschos of the authority’s third unit said that a recent initiative to cross-check all derivation of wealth declarations (so-called “pothen esches”) has resulted in 125,000 notifications being sent out so far, urging certain categories of taxpayers such as politicians, journalists and businessmen to comply with the measure requiring them to provide authorities with a detailed list of all the sources of income and revenues, as well as their assets.

Paraschos added that the agency is expecting to send out a total of more than 200,000 such notifications by the end of the year and that each declaration will be cross-checked electronically with other databases, helping root out suspect revenues.

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