Only tiny sum collected from big debtors, minister says

Deputy Finance Minister Giorgos Mavraganis admitted on Friday that the state had collected only a fraction of the outstanding tax arrears owed to the state by companies and individuals with the largest debts.

Although a special team was appointed to chase the arrears owed by the 1,500 biggest debtors, it failed to bring in significant revenue, Mavraganis said. «It it is a fact that the results of the operational revenue unit for the period between May 1 and August 31 of 2012 on 459 cases with a large collective arrears resulted in a very small proportion being collected,» he said.

The minister was speaking in Parliament in response to a question submitted by the independent MP Odysseas Voudouris. The deputy had sought an explanation as to why authorities have collected only 19 million euros of an estimated 13 billion euros owed to the state by large-scale debtors.

Mavraganis attributed the low collecton rate to the fact that 170 of the 459 companies checked were bankrupt, that many of the cases involved the use of bogus invoices, that in many other cases no assets could be linked to those responsible.

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