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A decade of money laundering

The authority against money laundering has shown that a veritable “dirty” money orgy took place between 1999 – 2010, through the Greek banking system.

 

The authority is calling for legislative reforms so that cases are not thrown due to the statute of limitations, noting that banks are delaying in sharing data.

“All of the black money was moved through the banking system,” said Ioannis Katsipis, a tax official that works with the police financial crimes squad (SDOE) and also a member of the authority on money laundering, speaking to the standing parliamentary committee of ethics and transparency.

The authority is demanding changes in legislation to avoid statute of limitations deadlines running out. Parliament has already legislated that the stature of limitations is extended by two years for cases whose investigation began by the last day of 2013. However, new authority members have raised the alarm as some cases dating to 2007 and before are close to deadlining, and SDOE and the authority should place the bulk of efforts on these cases.

The biggest problem being faced by auditors, however, is the delay with which banks respond to demands for data, which may take a year to respond, and often offer non-processable data.

According to the general manager of tax management, Charikleia Mavridou, since the establishment of the Center for Auditing Great Wealth, a risk assessment has been carried out in 24,710 cases totaling 9 billion in transfers abroad, between 2009 and 2011. As Ms Mavridou noted 436 cases were targeted first and that figure now stands at 1200. So far the checks have brought in 200 million euros. She also said that 80 cases from the Lagarde list are now being audited. Ms Mavridou noted the difficulties from legal discrepancies and lack of personnel, since of 17,000 tax officials two years ago, less than 8,000 remain.

Auditing intensified within 2014, given orders from the finance minister that 500 cases of transfers abroad between 2009-2011 wind up by the end of May.