New police squad to fight tax evasion

A new police squad tasked with targeting tax dodgers and armed with the powers to obtain the bank details as well as information about the stock market activities of anybody accused of evading payments was unveiled on Monday.

?The government is determined, society is determined and demands transparency, checks, apportioning of responsibilities and punishment of offenders,? said Citizens? Protection Minister Christos Papoutsis as he presented the new force, which will be known as the Financial Police and Electronic Crimes Squad.

Papoutsis suggested that one of the areas the new squad would be looking at is online gambling. ?The police estimates that the turnover for this is 5 billion euros a year and that the state misses out on 2 billion euros as a result,? said Papoutsis. ?Greek banks are unwitting accomplices in this because all the transactions are done using credit cards.?

The new squad consists of 200 officers, 100 of whom have postgraduate degrees in finance, accounting or information technology. Citizens will be able to report suspected offenses by dialing 11012.

Meanwhile, it was revealed yesterday that first instance prosecutor Yiannis Dragatsis is investigating information collected by the state agency that combats money laundering concerning allegations about the group of companies owned by businessman Lavrentis Lavrentiadis.

The agency suggested in its report that Lavrentiadis?s companies had received favorable terms for 51 million euros in loans from Proton Banks, of which the businessman is the main shareholder.

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