Tax official refuses to quit over charges

Tax official refuses to quit over charges

The head of Greece’s General Secretariat for Public Revenue, Katerina Savvaidou, on Tuesday refused to resign over two cases of alleged breach of duty, which she called “groundless,” and said she would submit written responses to the charges to a prosecutor by next Monday.

Savvaidou rebuffed the charges in a long written statement issued on Tuesday after briefly facing anti-corruption prosecutor Yiannis Dragatsis in connection to two charges; one concerns a decision to review a fine of 78 million euros imposed on an IT firm, while the second involves the extension of the time that television channels had to pay a special tax on advertising revenue.

Last Friday, at the behest of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Finance Minister Euclid Tsakalotos asked Savvaidou to resign over the charges. Savvaidou refused to do so and reiterated her stance on Tuesday after facing Dragatsis and asking to see the charges in detail before deciding on what legal action to take.

In her statement on Tuesday, Savvaidou rebuffed both charges, claiming that neither of the two actions she is being prosecuted for resulted in losses to the state.

As regards the tax on advertisements owed by TV channels, she stressed that the decision related to an extension of the deadline for payment and was not a suspension of the fine. As for the review of the fine on the IT company, she said it does not revoke the firm’s obligation to pay its dues.

Savvaidou stressed that she would not resign in line with government demands at a time that her “honesty, dignity and proper completion of my duties are being put in doubt due to the implication of my name in a judicial process.”

Another reason she would not quit, she said, is that her resignation could be regarded as admitting her involvement in a scandal or lead to “the transformation of the independent General Secretariat for Public Revenue into a frightened tax administration that cannot fulfill its purpose.”

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