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Papoulias Asks Greek Rich To Pay Taxes

papoulias_390With Greece being pushed by its international lenders to finally go after tax cheats costing the country some $70 billion – and with most Greeks believing the government has done nothing about it – President Karolos Papoulias has urged Greece’s rich to start paying their fair share of taxes and to help the country’s disadvantaged.
That comes after the government is trying to sort out a scandal of a list of more than 2,000 Greeks with $1.95 billion in secret accounts in a Swiss bank that still hasn’t been checked for tax evaders, more than two years after it was handed to Greek authorities.
In his New Year’s Day message, Papoulias stressed the need for Greece to get to grips with tax evasion and for the country’s elite to pay its way through the economic crisis.
“If we do not respond to the problem of tax evasion, those who are suffering will point at us,” he said after meeting the heads of Greece’s political system, Church and army in a traditional event to mark the start of the new year. “The country’s economic elite does not just have the moral obligation to carry its share of the burden, it has a practical obligation to prevent the weakest and poorest members of society being affected,” added the president.
It’s believed that many of Greece’s rich elite hide their money in foreign bank accounts so they won’t have to pay taxes, while there is still a problem of rampant tax evasion within the country with many people, from blue-collar to professionals, not issuing receipts to hide their income and try to cheat the government.
The Greek shipping industry, the world’s largest, is also fighting attempts to get it to pay taxes and has warned it will move outside of its own country is forced to pay. The industry enjoys a largely tax-free status and is controlled by many of the oligarchs that critics say really control Greece.

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