Thursday April 24, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
23o C
15o 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)  
Its too soon for Europe to declare victory
Realitys other side
Enough barbarity
Unanswered questions
Free drugs for uninsured Greeks
There are between 1.9 and 2.4 million Greeks, or roughly 20 percent of the total population, without social insurance, Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis said on Wednesday as he announced pla...
SYRIZAs preparation for elections upset again
SYRIZA's preparations for next month's local and European Parliament elections suffered another blow on Wednesday as Ahmet Kurt, one of the leftist party's candidates for the regional counci...
Inside News
Expanding the social dividend base
The Finance Ministry is set to make some adjustments to the plan for the distribution of the so-called social dividend, so that more recipients get a share of the 2013 primary budget surplus...
National Bank determined to remain in the Turkish market
National Bank sources made clear on Wednesday that the upcoming 2.5-billion-euro share capital increase is to ensure that the group retains its majority stake in Turkish subsidiary Finansban...
Inside Business
BASKETBALL
Never underestimate the Greek hoopsters
Olympiakos and Panathinaikos, who between them have won the last three European crowns, won again at home on Wednesday to take their Euroleague play-off series with Real Madrid and CSKA Mosc...
BASKETBALL
Reds and Greens stay alive in Euroleague
Easter and home advantage worked wonders for Panathinaikos and Olympiakos who stayed alive in the Euroleague play-offs beating CSKA and Real Madrid respectively on Monday in Greece. Shak...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Never underestimate the Greek hoopsters
2. Expanding the social dividend base
3. National Bank determined to remain in the Turkish market
4. Ferries to start using LNG
5. Investment fund off the ground
6. Stocks decline after three days of growth
more news
Today
This Week
1. FBI seeks to identify victims of suspected US child molester who worked abroad, including Greece
2. Greek debt swells again as Samaras looks to creditors for relief
3. Woman dies after falling off state building roof
4. Tunisian sought over employment scam
5. Greece qualifies for new debt relief after 2013 budget surplus
6. Greece sees 2013 primary budget surplus at 1.5 bln euros, says deputy finance minister
Today
This Week
1. Greece startup leaders say they cant break jobless cycle alone
2. Ground-breaking Good Friday mass signals thaw in Cyprus
3. Mayoral candidates clash over Athens mosque plans
4. Government looks to kick on
5. Greece offers to help find Turkish F-16 lost in 1996
6. EU struggles to unpick the knot of Russia-Ukraine gas logistics
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.