Time running out for tax evaders, ministry says

The country?s worst tax offenders have another 10 days – until November 24 – to pay their dues to the state otherwise their names will be published online, the Finance Ministry has said in written warnings sent out to 150,000 individuals and businesses.

The ministry has threatened to publish a list of tax offenders on its website after collecting the names and details of Greece?s biggest tax evaders.

According to ministry data, some 900,000 people owe the state an estimated 41.1 billion euros in outstanding taxes. However, most of the debt is owed by a very small number of people with a mere 5 percent of tax dodgers owing 85 percent of the outstanding amount. Just 14,700 individuals, companies or organizations owe 37 billion euros, according to the ministry. Each of these owes more than 150,000 euros but the ministry concedes that some are likely to be public sector organizations while others could be individuals who have died.

The state is also tracking down companies with debts in excess of 30 million euros, according to Grigoris Peponis, the public prosecutor responsible for investigating economic matters.

In Crete, officers of the ministry?s financial crimes unit (SDOE) have opened some 200 bank accounts belonging to doctors, lawyers and other professionals believed to be guilty of large-scale tax evasion, it emerged yesterday. According to sources, officers already have evidence incriminating three well-known lawyers and six established doctors from the island?s northern port of Iraklio. One of the implicated medics is the director of local maternity clinic who allegedly used public facilities to offer his patients private treatment. The doctor allegedly made huge profits from this illicit enterprise but did not declare any of his income. According to SDOE officers, some 970 patients paid a total of 3.26 million euros into two bank accounts in the medic?s name between 2001 and 2009.