Greece Knew About New List of Bank Accounts Abroad for Three Years

Money LaunderingThe new list of Greek taxpayers’ bank accounts abroad that the Greek government just received from Germany may not be so new after all.

Norbert Walter Borjan, the Finance Minister of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia that was able to compile the list, claimed in a conversation with Greek newspaper Kathimerini that his state has been trying to provide this information to the Greek government for the past three years, beginning with the Greek Consul at Dusseldorf.

The Greek Finance Ministry announced that the list contains 10,588 bank accounts that belong to Greek tax payers, amounting to 3.9 billion Swiss francs in 2006 and 2.9 billion Swiss francs in 2008. Kathimerini notes that according to Borjan the majority of the accounts included in the list are in Switzerland although there are few in Liechtenstein and Luxembourg as well.

Investigations could show whether account holders have committed tax evasion, money laundering, or any other potential crimes.

While the North Rhine – Westphalia’s finance ministry had first contacted the Greek finance ministry under the new SYRIZA-ANEL administration in January the list was not provided until now because the Greek side was unresponsive due to the extensive negotiations with international creditors over a new bailout package, Kathimerini further reports.

Borjan further told Kathimerini that the policy his finance ministry follows, namely compiling such lists from mostly Swiss banks, often leads to the account holders who have committed tax evasion to admit to their crime and repay the state in order to avoid being investigated.