NEWS

Cracking tax evasion a political issue, says ex-official

Diomidis Spinellis, the former general secretary of information systems at the Finance Ministry, has identified a lack of political courage as the main reason that Greece has failed to make significant inroads into tax evasion.

Speaking to Skai TV?s New Files program on Monday night, Spinellis went into some detail about his experience at the Finance Ministry, where he said that he encountered ?various obstacles? in his attempts to update the information technology used to clamp down on tax evasion.

?I saw difficulties in my ability to do my job,? he said. ?Administering the tax collection mechanism is a very tough task and it needs some courage.

?There is a lack of the political courage needed to provide clear solutions.?

Spinellis also outlined the Finance Ministry?s failure to follow up the penalties imposed on fuel trading firms that did not register their details properly with an electronic monitoring system, Hephaestus.

The Finance Ministry official in charge of tax and customs affairs, Yiannis Kapeleris, resigned at the beginning of the year after being charged with breach of faith in connection to the failure to collect the fines.

Spinellis added that there was plenty of scope for Greece to raise more revenues by clamping down on tax evasion.

?I?m not saying that it?s easy but there are solutions that can be applied,? he said. ?Some are in place but lots more things can be done.?