A furious sweet shop owner is Volos shot in the air with a rifle and threatened to “get the saber” while tax auditors were confirming a penalty for violations of the tax law. The horrified tax auditors, two men and one woman, called the police. The businessman was arrested, a search in his shop and home revealed several weapons he was illegally possessing plus and 350,000 euros and gold coins hidden in the washing machine.
The tax auditors told police that they heard a noise they assumed it came from a gun.
The businessman had a loaded pistol and two swords in the shop and one more pistol and a large number of bullets and cartridges in his home.
Police confiscated the weapons, including a rifle for which the shop owner had a license. Also the cash and the gold coins were seized in order to investigate whether they were legally possessed or the product of tax violations and other economic offenses.
He was detained but set free after he gave testimony to police.
The man faces charges of illegal use of gun, illegal possession and threats. The court accepted the lawyer request that the man is set free until the ballistic examination concludes. Police needs to prove that the gun was used.
In his testimony, the businessman said he never used the gun, but he just grabbed the sword that was on the fridge and hit with it a sign hanging outside his shop. He also claimed that the money was legal and taxed something that can be proved through audit. He said the money was his life-savings he had withdrawn from the banks due to economic crisis and financial instability.
He said he got angry as his shop has been targeted by tax auditors. “More that 20 audits have been conducted in my shop since March 29,” he claimed adding “a tax audit took place also on August 15th”, which is a bank holiday in Greece.
The tax auditors insisted that they heard the sound of a gun shot.
The audit had resulted that the businessman had not issued just 4 receipts – but did have issued 400.
The incident occurred in Agria of Volos, in central Greece on August 17th. His trial is set for August 31st.
Authorities request tougher penalties for threats against tax officials
As tax audits have been intensified this summer and many tax auditors experience threats by business owners under control, the head of Greece’s Independent Public Revenue Authority (IPRA), Giorgos Pitsilis, said on Friday the government will tighten up the laws protecting tax auditors.
The summer raids in businesses are part of the finance ministry’s efforts to crack down on tax evasion, mainly on the islands and other touristic areas. A series of attacks against tax auditors has set the ministry on alert. In July, a local entrepreneur on the island of Patmos beat one tax auditor in the head.
“Any form of violence is not the least tolerable, more so any armed threats, which we consider unthinkable. I personally thank the leadership of the police for its immediate response. We stand by and support all our employees,” Pitsilis said with reference to the Agria incident.
“At the same time, we are in talks with the political leadership for the tightening up of the legal framework, so that the Authority’s auditors are protected from any violence or threats” he added.