Greece on Monday appointed a former anti-terror prosecutor to help spearhead its latest tax evasion crackdown in a bid to boost its depleted state coffers by a hoped 11.8 billion euros by 2013.
The naming of 55-year-old Ioannis Diotis as head of the Greek fraud squad came as government ministers unveiled a raft of measures to combat a shadow economy that costs the state up to 15 billion euros ($22 billion) a year.
"There are studies by many organisations that give a shadow economy range from 25 to 35 percent of GDP. Based on that and with simple calculations, one can assume that 10 to 15 billion euros are lost to tax evasion every year," Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou told a news conference.
The ministries of finance, development, justice and police will work together to clamp down on wayward taxation, undeclared property, smuggling, money laundering and illegal gambling and trade, in addition to hunting down uncollected fines stagnating for years, Papaconstantinou said.
There will also be tougher sentences for tax dodgers and Greece will seek an agreement with Switzerland to levy tax on Greek bank accounts there.
"We have begun negotiations on a bilateral agreement with Swiss authorities, equivalent to that which Switzerland is negotiating with Britain and Germany, in order to tax funds deposited by Greeks in Swiss banks," he said.
The overhaul was announced as the debt-hit country prepares to undergo a new audit this month by the EU and the International Monetary Fund in order to unlock a scheduled loan release vital to Greece's continued solvency.
Government always mismanages funds that are confiscated from productive individuals. They have no to know how to appreciate resources. The black market is in the business of this everyday and does this without being tracked down by government scum. These are the real heroes who will keep the economy going while the government defaults. Which makes them more dangerous than terrorist because everyday they evade the taxman and show the emperor has no clothes.