Friday May 22, 2015 Search
Weather | Athens
14o C
09o 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)  
Consensus is key
The other inequality: how the state spends our money
Reform not stimulus is way out for Greece
A catalyst for change
Juncker, Tsipras eye Greece deal in early June
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker held talks in a very friendly and constructive climate on the sidelines of an EU leaders' meeting in Riga ...
EU to propose relocating 40,000 refugees from Italy, Greece
The European Commission is set to propose next week that 40,000 asylum seekers who have arrived by boat in Italy and Greece should be relocated across the continent in response to what it co...
Inside News
Slow ending to a good bourse week
For the third time in the past few days the Greek bourses benchmark failed to stay above the 850-point level on Friday, as the EU summit in Riga gave traders an ambiguous picture of the cou...
Lagarde says much work left to be done on Greece deal
A potential deal to help resolve Greece's debt crisis still requires a lot of work and must not be rushed, the head of the International Monetary Fund said on Friday. "I know there is a lot ...
Inside Business
SOCCER
Greece escapes soccer suspension, FIFA happy with changes
FIFA says it is satisfied with changes made to sporting law in Greece, and has dropped a threat to suspend the country from international competition. In a letter to the government dated May...
SOCCER
Four-goal Panathinaikos thrashes Asteras away
Panathinaikos thrashed Asteras at Tripoli to gain an early advantage in the race for a spot in next seasons Champions League qualifiers, as the Super League play-offs got under way on Wedne...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Slow ending to a good bourse week
2. Juncker, Tsipras eye Greece deal in early June
3. Greece escapes soccer suspension, FIFA happy with changes
4. Lagarde says much work left to be done on Greece deal
5. EU to propose relocating 40,000 refugees from Italy, Greece
6. Greece to cut bank rescue fund managers pay by 40 percent
more news
Today
This Week
1. Merkel stamps out brief optimism on Greece after Tsipras talks
2. Tsipras to meet Juncker on second day of Riga summit
3. Lessons from Israels tech miracle
4. EOPYY struggles for funding, sees overdue debt rise
5. Banks will be asked to revise their restructuring plans
6. Greece sees reforms deal with lenders in next 10 days, spokesman says
Today
This Week
1. The Greek-German breakthrough that didnt come
2. Phony dilemma
3. Greece came close to not paying IMF
4. Conspiracy madness
5. National self-awareness put to the test
6. Albanian demarche raises concerns about possible territorial claims over Greece
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2015, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.