The Finance Minister of the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia, Norbert Walter-Borjans, has clarified that he offered the Greek government technical cooperation on tax collection issues in 2012 but was turned down.
Walter-Borjans told the ANA-MPA news agency that he proposed to the Antonis Samaras administration “an exchange of tax administration know-how” but Athens decided to take the offer no further.
The German official’s statement appears to put an end to SYRIZA’s claims over the weekend that the government rejected in 2012 an opportunity to get its hands on data relating to Greeks with deposits abroad. This information was passed to the current coalition late last year.
However, Walter-Borjans questioned why the Samaras government did not accept his offer for help. “Clearly, in contrast to the current government, there was no interest in cooperation even though Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble had expressed his support for such cooperation,” he said.
The official also indicated that he has been happy so far from the reaction of the current administration and sensed that it is determined to fight tax evasion, given that authorities have acted upon the data he provided and that Greece has signed an agreement with North-Rhine Westphalia.
Meanwhile, a former advisor to Samaras, Stavros Papastavrou, said on Tuesday that he would take legal action against Kontra News daily after it claimed that his name was included in the list of depositors provided by the German state.
Papastavrou said he had written confirmation from financial prosecutors that he is not named.