An article entitled “Wealth and Secrecy,” published today by the German magazine, Der Spiegel focuses on tax breaks enjoyed by the Greek shipowners.
According to the German magazine, Greek shipowners are ordering new ships as if there is no crisis in the shipping sector. The article states that Greek shipowners in 2012 alone placed orders for the construction of 275 new ships worth 10 billion euros, while they have also spent the same amount for the renovation of their fleet.
Only in the first few weeks of 2014 they have spent five billion euros to buy new or used ships. The President of the Union of Greek Shipowners, Theodore Veniamis, claims that they use their own money.
Der Spiegel claims that shipowners in Greece pay fewer taxes in relation to the scope of their business. Citing international estimates, the magazine says that since 2002 Greek shipowners have not paid taxes of at least 140 billion euros. It also cites that due to 58 specific regulations in force, 800 Greek families operating in the shipping industry have been excluded from paying any taxes. Nowhere else in the world, says Der Spiegel, does the state protect shipowners that much.
Veniamis strongly denied these allegations, claiming that the Greek shipowners pay their taxes as “regular citizens.” However, the German magazine based on data obtained by Greek unions, states that in 2012 shipowners paid as individuals 15 million euros in taxes, while Greek sailors paid taxes amounting to 55 million euros.
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