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51 million record tax fine

A meat importer based in Chania, Crete seems to hold the record for tax dodging, which through intermediary "ghost" firms cheated the state and slipped through tax checks.

The company gave the local financial crime squad (SDOE) of Crete a run for their money, as the latter had been trying for three years to ferret out the firm, which had closed and re-opened under another name. The evidence was finally found and the owner is now facing a record fine of 51 million euros.

For years the importer brought meat from Belgium, the Netherlands, and other EU countries, showing three dummy companies in northern Greece as recipients, despite the fact that their only activity was to issue invoices.

The scrutiny of SDOE staff revealed 3,800 infringements, 900 fake invoices and a host of other financial misdeeds for the period 2007-2009 alone.
SDOE calculated a total of 9.3 million in fines for 2007, 19.8 million euros for 2008, and 21.8 million euros for 2009, for a staggering total of 51.4 million euros.

These fines have already been levied, and now authorities are looking into the misdeeds of the successor company.