If it is not a “communication trick” … then it is serious … because it is official.
The Greek Ministry of Finance released a statement yesterday stating that according to a preliminary investigation, 70 employees to the Ministry have an average of real estate holdings worth of €1,2 million, while their average declared income is only €50.000 per year.
“According to a preliminary investigation, 70 Finance Ministry employees have real estate holdings ranging from €800,000 to €3 million in value. The average real estate holding for these employees is valued at €1,228,337, while their average declared income is €50,834. The Finance Ministry is launching investigations into all these cases.”
In an effort to improve transparency in tax administration, collection and combat bribery the Finance Ministry in Athens proceeds to clean up first its own yard.
According to the press release the Finance Ministry
-is investigating 234 employees who have not filed taxes for 2007-2008.
- has established a public hot-line (1517), where citizens can report suspected tax evasion and other financial crimes.
- will investigate 50 anonymous and named complaints brought against employees of 31 Tax offices, 10 customs agencies, and a number of financial agencies throughout the country. The internal inquiry concerns cases of bribery, illegal economic activity, forged documentation, smuggling, negligence and corruption among other allegations.
Greek Bribes: a national hobby?
Transparency International suggests, in its latest report released March 2010, that corruption is part of everyday life in Greece. The global anti-corruption organization claims that private households paid more than €780 million in bribes in 2009.
Greeks pay bribes for public services such as speeding up the issue of driver’s licenses, for construction permits, to doctors of public hospitals, to tax officers to manipulate tax returns, so the TI report.
Bribes are also paid for private sector services such as lawyers, doctors or banks.