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Why Can’t Greece Obtain Tax-Cheat CDs with Data from Swiss Banks?

“Because these CDs have been classified as products of industrial espionage by the Swiss banks.” This is what Deputy Finance Minister Giorgos Mavraganis replied to a question posed by members of main opposition party, left-wing SYRIZA. “For the acquisition of such CDs there have been also issued arrest warrants,” Mavraganis added in a letter to SYRIZA MPs Kouroumplis, Lafazanis and Konstantopoulou.

They had asked the Finance Ministry about the actions taken by the Greek government concerning provision of information by the German government on Greeks keeping bank accounts in Switzerland.

SYRIZA members had stressed that the German government had obtained CS containing the names of bank account holders in Swiss banks. They also claimed that there was information that these CDs contain also the names of 10,000 bank account holders from different countries.

According to Finance Ministry the taxes on interest rates from deposits in Swiss banks were  5.9 million euro for 2010 (economic year 2009) and 9.9 million euro for 2009 (economic year 2008). sources: APE, news247

Read also: Illicit Tax-Cheat CDs might torpedo German-Swiss Treaty

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3 comments

  1. Germany has a law (most other countries probably do, too) which allows a tax cheater to “accuse himself”. In other words, he goes to the Tax Authority and admits that he owes back taxes. With that, he only has to pay the back taxes without any penalty. He remains a free man.

    The trick is that he can only do that as long as there is no proceeding on the part of the Tax Authority against him. Once the Tax Authority initiates such a proceeding, he is caught not only for back taxes (if such are due) but also stiff penalties all the way to prison terms.

    When the CD-buying was first announced, a lot of Germans got scared and proceeded to accuse themselves just to be on the safe side. If they were on the CD, that was a good deal. If not, they did it for nothing.

    The real money made by the German Tax Authority did not come from the CDs themselves but from the masses of “self-accusals” which followed the announced purchases of CDs.

    So what could Greece do very easily without breaking any law? Have someone spread the rumor that the government has acquired in whatever form of fashion CDs not only from one Swiss bank but from several large banks in the tax havens. Inform tax payers that they have one month to come clean. Otherwise, there is a high chance for them to get into serious trouble.

    It would be interesting to see if Greek tax cheaters get scared as quickly as German tax cheaters did when they had to fear that the Tax Authority might be after them.

    • you think that spreading the rumor would be enough? in Germany it wasn’t a rumour, it was a very loud fact.

  2. It would be interesting to see if Greek tax cheaters get scared as quickly as German tax cheaters did when they had to fear that the Tax Authority might be after them.

    They won’t. Because they know from experience that even if there are cases brought against them they will never be sentenced. And if, by pure misfortune or lack of proper contacts in the nomenklatura, they were to be conficted the possibilities of appeals are endless and they will never see the day of reckoning.
    Or there will always be a mass amnesty of some sort every couple of years.
    So, nothing interesting to see here.