Saturday , October 1 2022
Home / News / Economy / Tax evasion: state ‘steals’ the state

Tax evasion: state ‘steals’ the state

That’s a true LOL story Made in Greece! The Culture Ministry has been systematically evading taxes for years or even decades or better say: state institutions have been depriving  the state from tax revenues. The incredible tax evasion was revealed at the museum of the the archaeological site of Knossos on the island of Crete, one of Greece’s top destinations. Not only the museum employees issue did not issue receipts for sales from the museum store,  but when they were force to do this… it was proven that the cash register was not even registered to the central tax revenues system. However, tax inspectors found out that the Knossos’s tax evasion  was not an isolated incident and that for all archaeological sites, the Ministry of Culture has only 2 cash registers connected to the tax revenues system.

The Knossos case

After several complaints by tourists that they get no receipt when they purchase souvenirs from the Knossos Museum, Financial Crimes Units (SDOE) decided to take action. Pretending they were common tourists, the tax inspectors bought entrance tickets and for hours they kept watching and recording the transcriptions between the real tourists and the 8 museums employees.

During the whole inspection process, not a single receipt was issued; the employees could just write down the received amount of money on a book.

The the tax inspectors revealed their identity, the museum employees claimed the first that they had no time to issue receipts “due to work overload”, later that the cash register was broken. the tax inspectors found out that 1) the cash register was working fine and 2) that it was a ‘fake cash register’ as it was not registered to the tax authorities!

To penetrating inspectors’ questions the employees kept answering that they were following “orders from above”but were unable to define what exactly was the order and who was “the above”. It was surely not the Tax God Above…

The inspectors found 534 tax violations in form of not issuing receipts and thus in just one day and it was unclear for how long this situation had been going on.

They broadened the investigation and the first controls showed that the Culture Ministry has only 2 (two!) cash registers registered to tax authorities for all archaeological sites across Greece where millions of tourists make purchases each and every year.

The money collected from the sales made in the stores at archaeological sites is been transferred to the Archaeological Receipts [sic!]Fund, however -what an irony – without official receipts and invoices proving the accuracy of transactions, of referred values and assigned amounts.

On the inspectors’ question on “how employees are been checked” the answer was that there is an estimation of sales based on how many products the store has and how many have been sold. However, there is no inventory procedure taking place…

A last surprise was awaiting for the tax inspectors at the entrance of the Knossos archaeological site: two automatic machines selling souvenirs (copies of old coins) did not issue receipts as well, and no museum employee was able to say to whom or which company they belonged to. “They belong to someone in … Athens” was the answer. (via Cretalive)

News website tvxs.gr  that exclusively reported the story on Friday, asked the President of the Archaeological Resources Fund to comment on the issue. Aspasia Louvi-Kizi who assumed office 4 months ago, said that  the Fund is the collection mechanism of the Culture Ministry and added that “SDOE assists the Fund to put things in order and that the case will take the road to Justice.”

Minister of Culture Nikos Xydakis ordered a probe into the issue and stressed among others in a statement:

“We are awaiting the report of the tax authorities so we can immediately launch a procedure of disciplinary sanctions. There will be zero tolerance for civil servants who fail to defend the public interest.”

The culture and finance ministries declined to comment further on the matter.

PS So, now you know why there are no receipts when you buy souvenirs from stores of Greece’s archaeological sites. I just wonder, how things ‘function’ when tourists pay with credit or debit cards.

You may also now understand when we talk about “Greece’s cooked statistics and numbers”. It’s when the left hand has no idea what the right hand does…

1200px-AMI_-_Tänzerin

Ever wondered why the ancient Minoans could not afford to buy some bras? Probably they were awaiting for the Bronze Age state institutions to give the state what the state belonged: the taxes…

knossos1

Or the Minotaur had swallowed the cash register.

Check Also

Greece & 3 EU countries sent letter to Commission over cap on gas prices

Greece, along with Italy, Belgium and Poland, has sent a letter to the European Commission …

45 comments

  1. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    That’s the true VAT, the license for inventing the culturing of olive, you know, just like the American Indians get the VAT we all pay’em for being so kind inventing the cultures of potato, paprika, tomato, tobacco, cacao, bean, corn and even pumpkins as the latter Europe had forgotten about already thousand years earlier.
    But hey, while the crisis deepened the number of unemployed went down in May – so far unnoticed by “Europe” – and due to capital controls one million new debit cards got issued and that’s possible one million less “tax-holes”.

  2. this makes sorry reading for me.
    a few years back,in Istanbul, I had seen the “cashier”, at the site that just had paid entrance fee, to pocket the fee. of course no ticket was issued.
    I never thought this would be happening in my country too.
    what a shame for those Greeks to have done this

  3. costa sakellariou

    mafia!

  4. So, the bottom line seems to be that the Greek State can defraud the people of millions in unpaid taxes, but the restaurateur who doesn’t supply a receipt for € 2.50 worth of coffee is branded a criminal and is looking at excessive fines? With this kind of carry on, who can blame the restaurateur for not issuing a receipt? When in Greece, act like its government…

    • keeptalkinggreece

      in addition, with the overtaxation imposed since 2010, ‘businesspeople’ are formally pushed to evade taxes.

      • René Henri Pasche

        Pushed or allowed to evade taxes under the condition that they are willing to support the Government???

        • keeptalkinggreece

          ‘allowed’ that is files closed, small or no fines at all only for the very big fish. The small fish is ‘pushed’ when it sees how the big fish behaves.

          • This is one of the things I had hoped would change under a Syriza government. Now Ill admit from the start that this is no easy task but on the other hand 100 days of grace period are long over, so is there any progress to be reported on that front?

        • Giaourti Giaourtaki

          How about hundreds of thousands “independent” contractors that are forced to get jobs the bosses don’t pay tax or any social security contribution for and on top of the scandal the tax collectors want from the workers VAT as if they were businessmen and tax on income as if they were workers and often before the boss paid anything and it’s not sure he will ever.

    • but it isn’t just 1 receipt – it is many
      if those taxes and probably others paid, then maybe Greece wouldn’t be in such a mess

    • “who can blame the restaurateur for not issuing a receipt? When in Greece, act like its government…”
      I can. Because if you keep that attitude things will never get better for greece.
      This reminds of the arguements I used to have with my little brother when we were younger. Any time me or anyone else would point out some shit hed done the immediate response was “but he did this and that…”
      It doesnt matter how bad others behave, that doesnt justify your own shitty behaviour.
      Now lets be clear, Im not talking about the almost bankrupt granny who has to choose between getting her medicine or paying taxes, thats different. But the restaurateur not paying taxes because he feels he doesnt have to, after all other people are doing worse, is de facto stealing from his FELLOW COUNTRYMEN, including the aforementioned bankrupted granny.
      Btw. if you follow that logic to its consequences, who could blame anyone for stealing raping or murdering, after all there is a lot of that in the world and if other people do it on such a vast scale who could blame someone else for such a little thing like a single murder….

      • If you are stupid enough to think that not issuing a receipt is the same sort of thing as rape and murder, then you are a sociopath and have no place in civilised society. Maybe you can ask the Germans for suitable employment — assuming, that is, that you are not already engaged in such.

        • you dont want to understand. im not saying murder and tax fraud are the same thing. Im saying it is hazardous to think ones own immoral behaviour is ok because others are committing even bigger crimes.

      • It’s a trade off. Like everywhere else. In Germany, nobody budges or bats an eyelid when Siemens and Co bribe and corrupt their way to new contracts right left and centre, because they provide “jobs” and revenue for Germany. There is an international arrest warrant out for some of the top people in Siemens exactly on those charges. The German government refuses to execute this, based on the excuse of Germany does not extradite its citizens and statutory limits. The German government applies GERMAN statutory limits to crimes of money laundering, bribery, corruption committed in a different jurisdiction…
        In Greece, the small guy doesn’t give a 2.5€ receipt because he allows the big guy to take millions worth of bribes from amongst other Siemens.
        And in the middle of this sits the politician, whose art it is to get votes from the poor and funds from the rich by promising of protect each from the other other… So indeed, where do you draw the line, with the Greek restaurateur or the German prosecutor?

        • Believe me Im more then angry with our prosecutors right now, then again the swift exit of the generalbundesanwalt last week show how far this society has come since the nazis.

          “In Greece, the small guy doesn’t give a 2.5€ receipt because he allows the big guy to take millions worth of bribes from amongst other Siemens.”

          YOu bring the problem to the point. Everyone assumes everyone else is corrupt and therfore its ok, everyone assumes government wont work for them because it never really did so why pay taxes…
          This is not the case in central and northern europe, which isnt to say that there is no corruption, but it seems to me from all that ive heard and read so far(your statement up above very much included) that there is a difference in attitude. And frankly in this I very much prefer the northern way.

          • keeptalkinggreece

            in central & N Europe it’s the very big fish! read the courts verdicts in Germany how they ruled and settled SIEMENS bribes and tax evasion. A walk in the park.

          • “…which isnt to say that there is no corruption,…”
            Of course there is corruption and often times its the legal kind because it is embeded in the system. Still I doubt youll find a german a dutch or swede saying its ok to not pay taxes because some companies are bribing/others are evading taxes too. And that does make a difference. Same way I cant even imagine a politician (of a supposedly social democratic party) whos father and grandfather held the post before being elected to chancellor. Or a government surviving(although for not too long) not acting on the lagarde list. our government is buying cds with data on taxevaders, or take the case of ulla schmidt our minister of health until 2009 when she had to resign because shed used her ministry car excessivly(similarily some politicians had to take some time of because they were using miles gathered on business flight some years ago), can you imagine those things in greece?
            So single incidences aside isnt there a difference in overall attitude towards these kinds of things?

          • ” can you imagine those things in greece?”
            or italy for that matter?, they voted berlusconi again and again and then wonder that other countries have little trust in their political system

          • keeptalkinggreece

            I see that you don’t live in Bayern (Strauss family). See also Ursula von der Leyen und probably others I don’t know. For families in politics: Germany keeps the Middle Ages structures when one family member is Politician, the other in the Church. OK< maybe the SPD doesn't have this attitude but conservatives still do, no? Or see the Lords system in UK. Lords in politics since centuries. In Greece, it can be that Modern Greece (after 1821) never had aristocracy & noble families, so they tried to do copy paste this in politics.

            I believe in Germany, once you caught, you’re out, because there is no tolerance in public. However do you really believe in German Heile Welt where politicians act/vote/ etc just because they represent their common voters’ interest but not vetted interests?

          • youre certainly right about the conservatives though its one in politics one in the economy nowadays. I dont believe in the heile welt, nevertheless I do see differences/improvements compared to many other countries.
            It is a bit like my attitude towards the military. I hate military, any kind of it. but in the grand scheme of things the bundeswehr is rather harmless. things like kunduz are the exception and when they happen its a huge scandal, heck when they first went to afghanistan they thought theyd cme to dig wells and build schools for girls. I still dont like them but ill take them any time over the american russian or chinese military, same goes for police.

            youre right that bavaria is a bit worse, any region where one party rules for several decades will have institutionalized corrption.

            Same standards I demand from other I will hold myself to. So me saying there are things in greece that I think need to change is NOT meant to say everything is fine here. these are not things to be played out against each other(which is what many people do, see my response to ephi below) both are issues that need to be adressed

          • Giaourti Giaourtaki

            Kunduz shows that democracy is only made for perfect crime. Guernika was also a big scandal but therefore government would have been held responsible for, is Merkel in Den Haag imprisoned for mass-murder? How corrupt is this? How comes that a dictatorship starts paying back the forced loans to Greece and democracy laughs about the “stupid Greeks” and calls them greedy?

          • And frankly in this I very much prefer the northern way.

            Really? Have yuo actually thought through what you say here? for it is “The Northern Way” of corruption, bribery, moneylaundering etc. that brought the whole mess we are currently in to bear. Northern Rock, Lehman Brothers, Libor scandal, Anglo Irish Bank, Siemens, Erickson, GSK, Paris Bas, Santander, HSBC, UBS, Unicredit, Deutsche Bank, Dexia, etc etc Of course, not to mention the cooperation they all received from their respective governments and the EU while creating “the crisis”. That is the attitude you prefer????

          • this northern way thing mightve been a mistake in terms of wording because this can be a slippery slope, just like there aren THE greek or tHE germans ther is no homogenous set of northerners or southerners, so this just up ahead.

            as for attitudes, lets say I prefer mine over yours because once again you choose to look at other peoples faults instead of the homemade problems, you react to this and give me a whole list, most of which are banks btw. which is special subset(banksters are criminal everywhere, whether its in greece or ger or uk), yet you ignore the points I made below.
            we are commenting on an article about corruption in greece and your response is not ok we have problem here we gotta fix, instead you focus on other places other people and ignore or even justify your own countrymens bad behaviour.

          • No, you are denying that the systemic corruption of northern Europe (and the rest of the developed world) is of any importance, and trying to make out that Greece is the problem. And then you have the sheer cheek (or stupidity) to claim that ephilant is looking at other people’s faults — which is precisely what you and the Germans are doing.

            There is no fix for corruption: it exists everywhere, and is arguably at its worst when it excludes ordinary people and benefits only the rich — politicians, bankers, multinational businesses… That is the world that the Germans are constructing, and you know where you can stick it.

          • “No, you are denying that the systemic corruption of northern Europe (and the rest of the developed world) is of any importance,and trying to make out that Greece is the problem.”
            vs.
            ““…which isnt to say that there is no corruption,…”
            Of course there is corruption and often times its the legal kind because it is embeded in the system.” and
            “Same standards I demand from other I will hold myself to. So me saying there are things in greece that I think need to change is NOT meant to say everything is fine here. these are not things to be played out against each other both are issues that need to be adressed”

            “There is no fix for corruption: it exists everywhere,…”
            vs
            “we are commenting on an article about corruption in greece and your response is not ok we have problem here we gotta fix, instead you focus on other places other people and ignore or even justify your own countrymens bad behaviour.”

            xenos you dont understand what I mean(up above 7:48)even though others do, you argue against/accuse me of positions I never held(example 1), you are as I predicted absolutly apologetic to anyone you perceive to be on “your side”(example2) and worst of all you claim superiority for your arguments by economic expertise yet youre unwilling to form a positive position meaning you critize others but refuse to name alternatives.

          • we are commenting on an article about corruption in greece and your response is not ok we have problem here we gotta fix, instead you focus on other places other people and ignore or even justify your own countrymens bad behaviour.

            No, if you would go back and read a lot of the stuff I have written here and elsewhere you would know that this asmuptition of ignoring Greek behaviour is wrong. But what I am reacting to is the attitude of “the kettle calling the pot black”. Instead of seeing the Greek problem for what it is, a problem for the Greeks which was, and is, driven to a large part by the behaviour of non-Greek multinationals and indeed banks, you try to force it into a narrow straight jacket of a “Greek” problem. And this is one of the few areas where I actually do agree with A. Tsipras. It is not a Greek problem, it is a EUropean problem. And like it or not, the main probelmatic drivers happen to be German companies. They may have the work-ethic of punctuality, quality etc, but it is blatantly obvius from their very own track record that their morality and honesty is a very far cry from what they wold like us all to think…

          • ” you try to force it into a narrow straight jacket of a “Greek” problem. ”
            The problem that this article is about, is a greek one.
            “That’s a true LOL story Made in Greece!!” first sentence of this article.
            The overall problem of this crisis is very much european and ive said so.
            “For the creditors that means another haircut/debt restructuring and softer budget targets, for the greek people(and especially some commentators here) it means acknolwedging and fixing the homemade problems like the ones described in this article.”(myself below)

            “No, if you would go back and read a lot of the stuff I have written here and elsewhere you would know that this asmuptition of ignoring Greek behaviour is wrong. ”
            If thats the case I apologize, at the same time that cannot be said of others in this discussion.

  5. I am intrigued:
    You say that ‘for hours they were watching the 8 museum employees’
    At some point didn’t the museum employees get suspicious & have them thrown out.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      this did not happen! museum employees were overwhelmed by having to record per handwriting in the book 536 purchases

      • I recall, last year, watching a bookseller friend write out receipts and accounts by hand, painfully long and wasting time. I asked him why he didn’t do so on a computer. The answer?
        “I discussed this with my accountant, because we use computers for the accounts anyway. He told me that since the original registration of the business (some 50 years ago) was for handwritten accounts, the tax office would not allow computerised accounts now. The business would have to be closed and then reopened.”
        The Greek state is a catastrophe, and the Germans have only made it worse.

        • keeptalkinggreece

          LOL really???

          • As I recall, the technical reason was that the State had issued the business with perforated receipt books — as it always did. According to the accountant, the tax office requires all transactions to be recorded in the same way — so there is no way to make the transition to computerisation without closing the business.

        • Please explain to how things like this are germanys fault?
          Im willing to accept that alot was done wrong on the creditors side, but these things whether its the tax evasion on small sclae, on big scale or the shitty bureacracy were there long before any troikans entered the country.
          Its at this point where I loose most of the commentators here(or they loose me), because here we are laughing about the absurdity of these innergreek problems and there are quite a few of them(and thats totally unrelated to any shit the troika might have come up with see my post above) and the immediate response is to point at others. And this is not a singular incident but the regular response from many posters here.
          Btw. Xenos up until today and I must have asked at least 5 times by now, neither you nor anyone else has given me an alternative way to get the 13-15% deficit of 2010 under control. And please dont say a haircut wouldve done the trick (maybe going back to drachma would have; I dont know, happy to be enlightened by you) because that obviously addresses debt not deficit.

          • Look. No people in the world enjoy paying taxes. The countries where they do it more readily are those where the taxes levied are reasonable in terms of who pays, how they pay, and what you get in return.

            The Germans decided to extract money out of the Greek people, via taxes. They do the same as the Turks used to. Obviously, no sane person is going to pay those taxes unless they are forced into doing so, with massive legal and other fights.

            As for the deficit, the deficit cannot be brought under control PRECISELY because of what the Troika has done to the Greek economy — namely, destroy it. If you cannot understand basic macroeconomics, you should not comment on it. Varoufakis has explained the issues at great length and very well: there is nothing in his explanations that is out of place in the standard economics literature. On the other hand, EVERYTHING that the Troika/Germans have done to the eurozone and especially to Greece is in defiance of scientific knowledge. They are a disgrace to Europe and belong in gaol for their crimes against the European peoples.

          • first of all half my comments are questions so id say my previous knowledge is not that important since you are here to explain 🙂

            Second I will not that once again you did NOT answer the question. You said only what does NOT work. Suppose for a second you are german chancellor/french president/greek prime minister in 2009 what measures would you have implemented that would get the deficit under control?
            I understand that too big of a tax hike/spending cuts are counterproductive at some point, but i dont see the opposite working either. Or do you mean to tell me that the deficit shouldve been increased afterwards and then the economy wouldve just grown out of it all?

            “The Germans decided to extract money out of the Greek people, via taxes.”
            NO, just no. I just made the point in the other article about the interest rates that there are various factors to consider. But on a pure government to government level the greek government has RECEIVED tons of money. Just like gigi is wrong with his 150b interest(even aside from the fact that the math is wrong) and the statement that the government gets sucked dry. Take away all the debt and interest rates for a second(because up until this moment that has just been a circlejerk amongst the creditors) just the regular primary budget even that is still in deficit. and those deficits since 2009 have been financed by the other european countries.
            This is why im still skeptical about your idea to just declare a oneside haircut and grexit in 2010, the deficit is still there and in such a case I dont see other countries or finacial markets loaning one more euro.

          • Please explain to how things like this are germanys fault?

            As stated in another post, you might just want to go and have a good look at just which companies were/are behind all the “shitty” stuff in Greece? And which prosecutors are preventing the people behind these companies from being held responsible for the bribery and corruption they did indeed sow here?
            Not that things are all ok with the Greek business people, but the large scale corruption most definitely came from the likes of Siemens, Ferrostaal, etc.

          • ephilant, and I say this as a friend please take a good look at yourself(the country). Im not saying those companies didnt do their part, but at the very most its 50/50 on the blame, because bribing always takes at least 2. And at that point you can ask why is it that so many big companies start bribing in greece when there arent nearly as many charges against the very same companies when they operate in other countries.
            Perhaps it is better if you hear this from a fellow countryman, these are just some of the things yanis varoufakis thinks are necessary:
            “We need to adjust to a new culture of paying taxes…..”
            A new culture!!! That implies a vast problem that doesnt end with the super rich.
            “We need to make the pension system sustainable by eradicating unpaid labour, minimising early retirements, eliminating pension fund fraud,…”
            “The creation of a fully independent Tax and Customs Authority (under the aegis and supervision of Parliament)”
            “A Fiscal Council that oversees the state budget”
            “Public administration reforms.. ”
            “A major Anti-corruption Drive and relevant institutions to support it… ”

            Now can you find any other eurozone country having these kinds of problems in that magnitude?

            Still you first look to the outside for blame(and there is enough blame to around to stick to everyone). The very structure of your sentence says it all, “not that…., BUT”.
            Now Ive said repeatedly that I wish the austerity wouldve been much weaker, the deficit targets stretched over a longer time….

            Can you see how hard that is to defend though when time and time again you meet(very much vocal) greeks that dont see any/many problems on their own side, that think corruption and taxfraud are ok so long as its at middle income level(where most of the tax fraud occurs), that reject austerity measures yet do not offer alternative solutions except for we need more money(which isnt said out loud, V. repeatedly said we dont want more money when he means no more loans, instead the money is supposed to come directly via eu financing)

            Once again, I think there is lots of blame to be found on all sides, but that also means things wont get better until all sides acknowledge their mistakes/problems. For the creditors that means another haircut/debt restructuring and softer budget targets, for the greek people(and especially some commentators here) it means acknolwedging and fixing the homemade problems like the ones described in this article.

          • Giaourti Giaourtaki

            Varoufakis would have had each month minimum 1 billion plus if he wouldn’t had paid “back” 17.5 billion, plus 10.9 billion unused funds for recapitalization of banks – that now are part of the “86 billion”.
            If companies pay 2 billion in bribes it has nothing to do with “we have to this as this is part of the competition” it’s just a lame excuse for that they want to sell overpriced so much that the Olympic Games were 2,3 times more expensive than the ones in Australia or Spain.
            Only the “Yellow Submarines” were promoted with 256 million

          • And at that point you can ask why is it that so many big companies start bribing in greece when there arent nearly as many charges against the very same companies when they operate in other countries.

            Maybe this has far more to do with being much more sphisticated in hiding/masking the corruption than it’s non-existance. Or do I really need to remind you of “Luxleaks”, point you to the often enormous fines handed out in the USA to indeed Siemesn and Deutsche Bank (amongst others). fines which are merely pocket money for these companies anyway. Or, must you really be reminded of the Liechtenstein connection, the Anglo Irish affair, Libor, etc. Corruption takes many disguises, some take longer to dismantle than others…

          • Giaourti Giaourtaki

            30 year old joke: What’s the difference between Germans and Greeks?

  6. René Henri Pasche

    Here we are again.”Greek fiscal adjustment program failed ’cause of unpredicted human behavior”. (Christine Lagarde, KTG, August 23, 2013)

    • keeptalkinggreece

      these …humans!!! tsk tsk tsk

      • Lagarde more closely resembles a tanned lizard, wearing a human hair wig.

        • René Henri Pasche

          Nice picture! A kind of reptile with a long body and tail. Mais la demoiselle n’est pas méchante, je pense. Sans doute M.Sarkozy pourrait vous donner plus de détails si cela vous intéresse.

  7. Giaourti Giaourtaki

    The story will go on: “The tourists who helped in this now ask Varoufakis to pay their holidays”