back to article Greek journo who published list of Swiss bank account holders cleared

A Greek journalist who published the names of 2,000 suspected tax evaders has been cleared of privacy violations. Kostas Vaxevanis, 46, was found not guilty of breaking data privacy laws for publishing the details of 2,059 Greeks reckoned to have bank accounts in Switzerland in Hot Doc, the weekly magazine he edits. Tax …


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  1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Big Brother

    War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Wise Investment is Tax Evasion

    "Tax evasion is widely seen as an important factor in Greek's economic malaise"

    So-called "Tax evasion" is *always* an important factor in an "economic malaise", if not in reality then at least in the political showroom full of noise and thunder.

    There are always those that think that State Owns Everything does not actually need to restrict its means and can indeed spend more than comes in. This leads to the conclusion that someone, somewhere, hasn't paid enough if the chicken comes home to roost.

    Perfected doublethink then blends out the fact that the enormous public debt was politically easy to accumulate because of preferential EUR rates, that there is no money left in pension schemes and social security and that everything went to make-work schemes, public amusements, public *servant* amusements, military adventures, special projects for cronies and well-connected cousins and that now there is no way out any longer.

    It may be that the "tax evaders" are the aforementioned "cronies", so they should get what they deserve - but not because of tax evasion but because of cronyism. And the politicians should be hung alongside.

    1. Bumpy Cat

      Re: War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Wise Investment is Tax Evasion

      Tax is necessary for a functioning modern society. How much tax is a matter for debate and which political theory you subscribe to.

      The issue here is that those in power were not paying their tax, while expecting everyone else to pay their tax ... and these same powerful people were in turn living off the tax of others, and misspending the revenue in a way that destroyed the economy.

      This is two years old now, but quite clearly explains how Greece managed to destroy its economy through mismanagement and self-delusion:

      1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Re: War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Wise Investment is Tax Evasion

        Have a +1 for that link - it's a good read.

  2. Sir Runcible Spoon


    "The papers adds that these investigations are more likely to leads to settlements and fines, where suspicion of tex evasion is substantiated, than criminal prosecutions"

    Priveledge = Private Law.

    If I was caught evading £100 quid's worth of tax I would be sent away for 3 months. If I was powerful and evaded £1m then I would get a slap on the wrist and a 'fine'. It's just a club that we aren't in.

    1. Stratman

      Re: Sir

      As as often been stated, tax avoidance is legal, tax evasion isn't.

      What many of the people being pursued by HMRC have done is probably on the edge of legality but still just legal. I suspect HMRC would prefer to negotiate a nice out of court settlement where they recoup most if not all of the monies they consider are owing rather than go to court, where a hotshot lawyer may demonstrate their client's conduct is legal according to the strict letter of the law. If they lose one case they lose them all. Doing it by negotiation sets no precedents and keeps one's name out of the headlines.

      1. Tom 7

        Re: Sir

        But it does set precedents!

        You know if you fiddle a small sum you will get you're arse kicked but if you fiddle a massive amount you can while away a few hours agreeing how to pay it over a few years - possibly by promising to let the country own a painting that wont ever leave your fucking living room.

        All negotiation achieves for the nation is more of the same - until you die and,surprise surprise, no one knows where the painting went.

  3. Tom 7

    Settlements and fines...

    The penalties for defrauding the taxman in this country are inversely proportional to the value.

  4. Graham Marsden

    Tex evasion?

    Sure thing, pardner!

    1. Colin Miller

      Re: Tex evasion?

      Why should we avoid TeX? It's damn useful for writing reports, or so I've been told.

      1. Elmer Phud

        Re: Tex evasion?

        Tex -- if you pronounce it like that then you probably have ways of avoiding it

  5. Alexander Giochalas

    A couple of corrections

    1. Hot Doc is bi-weekly.

    2. "Ta Nea" published a couple of weeks ago a list of artists and their tax forms, i.e. the income they had declared and the tax that they had paid. This was a completely different list, it violated privacy in much more profound ways, it proved to be quite inaccurate and, most importantly, the law did absolutely nothing against the paper, as it should have. In my opinion, this was just a rouse, but being greek and trying to live in Greece, I won't start talking about all these things. Let's just say that justice may be blind, but the Law has wide- open eyes, ears and pockets (which also are rather deep).

  6. chris lively

    A relative minority failing to properly pay taxes does not lead to the financial collapse of a government.

    Financial collapse is caused by continuous overspending. If you didn't know about the money and you didn't spend what you don't have, then tax dodgers are simply an inconvenience to be hunted down and shackled.

    Regardless, the thing these stories fail at is quantifying the impact. In other words, how much in taxes are we talking about? My guess is the tax portion is quite a bit less than even $1 billion euros. Which, even if all of that had been paid Greece would still be screwed.

    1. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

      If you spend more than you take in, you're in trouble - so taking in less or spending more can both contribute, no? More to the point, why should Stavros-in-the-street to pay his taxes if he knows that his betters(*) are not? Failures in leadership tend to start at the top.

      1. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: "Failures in leadership tend to start at the top."

        As does corruption - and whilst the EU central banks have been avoiding coming out and actually saying it in black and white, they've made it pretty clear what they think of several southern EU states.

    2. Alexander Giochalas

      It's NOT a minority

      ... In fact, we are talking about 50% of the tax-paying population (don't rely on my word, check the eurostat statistics). This has been happening for many decades now and no government ever did anything about it --not by accident. This 50% is comprised mostly of those that their income source is not a salary/ pension. From the richest to the not-so-rich, they are deeply intertwined with the status-quo politicians of all ranks, hence their constantly getting away with it, using both legal (but not fair) and illegal ways.

      As an example, check about Mr. Sallas, owner of Piraeus Bank. There was a major report on him and his family last spring from Reuters (if I remember correctly). (Also note that all things reported had appeared a few years before on reports in greek newspapers) What happened? The greek press printed only his answer and did not mention the report at all, and a few weeks later the government gave him for peanuts ATE bank, whis was in trouble, but its role is crucial ('A' stands for agricultural).

      OK, this post is getting too long... Bye!

  7. JaitcH
    Thumb Down

    The secret bank accounts now in Singapore

    All the fat cats from Germany, France, Greece are stashing their money is Singapore.

    Where? Try to fill in the missing letters: Bank of S--ga-ore. You don't even have to use your real name!

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm impressed

    I'm impressed: he was arrested and acquitted in less than a week. Had something similar happened here the CPS would still be mulling over the possible charges.

    1. Alexander Giochalas

      Re: I'm impressed

      OK, on greek law the Public Prosecutor can order the arrest of someone who commits an "obvious crime" (is "flagrant crime" the english legalese?). In this case the person is arrested (if found) immediately and goes to prison until his/her trial, which is scheduled to happen very shortly.

      It just happens that the greek law is very selective about what crimes happen to come to their attention and what they do about them... See my first post, above.

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