NEWS

Ministry, prosecutors clash over use of ‘illegal’ lists

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A row has broken out between prosecutors and the Justice Ministry over a new law permitting the use of evidence that has been illicitly obtained to crack down on high-level cases of tax evasion.

The government tacked the amendment onto a bill on the expansion of a cohabitation bill at the end of last year in a bid to facilitate efforts by authorities to crack down on tax evasion. Prosecutors have a series of lists, from various sources, of potential tax-dodgers.

However, the union representing Greek prosecutors expressed concerns about the new law in a statement on Monday, suggesting that “the judiciary is being used as a tool for the achievement of a certain policy or goal which is not compatible with rules on proper legislative practice.”

Just a few hours after the statement was released, five members of the union resigned from the managing board on Tuesday, claiming not to have been consulted.

Commenting, Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos noted that “the criminal investigation of a major case of tax evasion should be a priority for the dispensation of justice.”

Alternate Minister Dimitris Papangelopoulos was blunter, expressing surprise that Greek prosecutors are not as keen as the government for “thieves and tax evaders” to pay their dues.