Civil servant bank transfers probed

More than 5,000 civil servants are under investigation for transferring some 1.5 billion euros to foreign bank accounts since 2010, when Greece’s economic crisis erupted, the Administrative Reform Ministry revealed Thursday.

Based on ministry data, a total of 5,260 civil servants, or their spouses, transferred in excess of 100,000 euros to foreign banks. Nearly half the civil servants on the list were employed in the education sector while the remainder worked in the health sector – chiefly as doctors – for the Defense, Finance or Public Works ministries, or for local authorities.

Following an order issued by Administrative Reform Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis for the Inspectors-Controllers Body for Public Administration (SEEDD) to conduct the checks, it emerged that 415 out of the 5,260 employees, whose total amount in cash transfers came to 117 million euros (on average 283,000 euros per employee), had recently left public service for a number of reasons.

Mitsotakis gave the list of the 415 employees to Katerina Savvaidou, the general secretary for public revenues, for the necessary tax checks to be undertaken. Mitsotakis said that resigning or retiring from the public sector clearly “does not revoke the need for a tax inspection.”

A ministry statement noted that the ongoing investigation by SEEDD was expected to cover most of the civil service, with the exception of certain categories that did not fall under its jurisdiction, such as judges and police and coast guard officers.

The ministry underlined that it was not the transfer of money to foreign banks that was under investigation but whether the money in question corresponded to the account holder’s legitimate income.

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