Greece: Yet another new structure to tackle tax crime 16 Jan 2018

In the context of measures to complete the 3rd review of the current financial stability program, the Greek Parliament has voted to set up a new directorate within the Finance Ministry. This Financial Crime Investigations Directorate will be investigating tax fraud of “major criminal importance”. It will be subjected to the Finance Minister but its actions will be co-ordinated and directed by the Financial Crimes Prosecutor.

The Directorate is to, hopefully, essentially become a central, investigating “arm” for the Financial Prosecutor speeding up major tax fraud and tax crime cases. The law does not define “major criminal importance”, leaving wide discretion of intervention to the authorities.

For the purpose of carrying out their duties, the Directorate’s officers shall have access to the data held by the independent Authority for Public Revenue.

This new structure is apparently another attempt to tackle tax fraud. Whether another state office is actually necessary or the strengthening of the independent Authority for Public Revenue or the Financial Prosecutor’s Office may have been more efficient options is an open question.