Wednesday October 22, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
24o C
11o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
A sad testament to the state of affairs in Greece

By Alexis Papachelas

The only real political issue in the entire Lagarde list affair is whether the Greek state could have used it earlier to locate large-scale tax evaders and recover a significant amount of lost revenues. That opportunity was obviously lost and did not reappear until recently.

The truth is however that this is not a simple process. Even countries with extensive experience in clamping down on tax evasion have stumbled over the plethora of legal and other obstacles that come with the use of data acquired through unofficial channels. They ultimately used the data as leverage against people who could not justify the size of their Swiss deposits.

The excuses heard in Greece over why the list was not used to this end vary. Some say that they did not trust the Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) to deal with the issue and believed the list could be ill-used to blackmail the innocent along with the guilty. Others claimed that the list could not be used as evidence in a court of law and was therefore useless.

If the former is true, then one cant help but wonder why a minister would agree to oversee a service that he viewed as unreliable. If the latter is true, then the serious question arises of which state service gave the impression in the first place that the list could be used.

Everything about this affair is wrong, because politicians and state officials are unaccustomed to having to work in a serious and methodical manner, with some degree of respect for protocol. If former Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou had simply filled out a form confirming that he had passed on the list to the Financial Crimes Squad, then he wouldnt be in this mess and we wouldnt have seen SDOE lose credibility. He could also have avoided a lot of problems if he was surrounded by experienced aides with knowledge of administrative procedure and law. But many ministers forget how ephemeral their role is and that they need to follow certain rules.

On the other hand, cynics (or realists) would argue that Greece does not have the overt or covert services to handle complex, sensitive matters such as these, which, moreover, have an international dimension. They see efforts to get the list from the French authorities as overly optimistic because they dont believe that we have the know-how and experience to use it. As unfair as this accusation sounds, it unfortunately contains a grain of truth.

Who is to blame for Greece coming to this? The same politicians who are today paying the price, either on an individual level or as part of the system of power. They are the ones who dismantled the public administration so they could keep their cronies close at hand; they messed with the Financial Crimes Squad to serve their own interests and they created a system where so many could get away with so much.

ekathimerini.com , Sunday Jan 6, 2013 (15:02)  
The ECB collateral for Greece must be lowered to 5 pct
The past, present and future of the Greek debt crisis
Self-opposing coalition
Gutsy rectors
Archaeologists find missing head of Amphipolis sphinx
Archaeologists digging at a tomb dating to the era of Alexander the Great in ancient Amphipolis in northern Greece have found the missing head of one of the two sphinxes guarding the entranc...
Coalition leaders prepare for troika amid sour mood
A dispute between New Democracy and PASOK over civil servants salaries continued Tuesday, underlining the big task facing Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos ...
Inside News
Credit sector officials sleeping easy ahead of stress test results
Analysts, investment banks and institutional investors appear optimistic regarding the results of the European Central Bank stress tests on local lenders, which has been mirrored in the perf...
Certainty on primary surplus target
The state budgets primary surplus beat expectations by almost a billion euros in the first nine months of the year, General Accounting Office data confirmed on Tuesday, but tax revenues and...
Inside Business
BASKETBALL
PAOK fans stop coach Markopouloss move to Olympiakos
Olympiakos is once again in the lookout for a new coach after the refusal of PAOK to release Soulis Markopoulos, while Panathinaikos defeated Kolossos on Rhodes on Monday to become the only ...
BASKETBALL
Reds lose to Nea Kifissia, search for new coach
Nea Kifissia recorded the biggest win of its short history in the top flight defeating Olympiakos 68-67 on Sunday, in a Basket League weekend marred by the abandonment of the Thessaloniki de...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Credit sector officials sleeping easy ahead of stress test results
2. Certainty on primary surplus target
3. Feverish talks on payment plan proposals
4. TUI promises even more tourists
5. Archaeologists find missing head of Amphipolis sphinx
6. Coalition leaders prepare for troika amid sour mood
more news
Today
This Week
1. The past, present and future of the Greek debt crisis
2. Gang importing heroin into Greece busted
3. Greece said to seek tailor-made plan for bailout exit
4. Self-opposing coalition
5. Gutsy rectors
6. Applications for heating oil subsidy set to start
Today
This Week
1. Possible third figure in Amphipolis mosaic may be uncovered shortly
2. Istanbul skyscraper casts shadow over Greece's banking ambitions
3. Coalition shooting itself in the foot
4. GPO poll gives SYRIZA clear lead over New Democracy
5. Greece must stick to reforms, says Schaeuble
6. Greeces closed society is central to its current malaise
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.