Monday, October 29, 2012

There Are Whistleblowers, Then There's This Guy

Kostas Vaxevanis has blown the whistle on the rich and powerful in his country and he's been arrested and hauled into court for it in what could turn into an astonishing showdown in a country that is a powderkeg of pent up resentment just looking for a spark.

Vaxevanis is the editor of a Greek weekly, Hot Doc, that just published the names of what it claims are the 2,000 biggest tax evaders in the country.   He was giving a radio interview when the cops tracked him down and hauled him away.

His defenders say the government is trying to hide the truth that it had the list for two years and did nothing because the names include prominent members of the country's business and political elites.

"If anyone is accountable before the law then it is those ministers who hid the list, lost it and said it didn't exist. I only did my job. I am a journalist and I did my job," Vaxevanis said in the video sent to Reuters news agency.

The case has triggered a parliamentary inquiry and could provide the basis for prosecutions at a time of rising radicalism on both left and right and a sense of injustice over the widespread destitution and despair created by Greece's economic crisis set against the relative impunity of the country's rich, who have a long history of tax evasion.

George Papaconstantinou, a former finance minister, said the Greek tax authorities had failed to act on the list because they were afraid of confronting the country's elite tax evaders. He also claimed that the affair brought to light only a small part of a massive tax evasion problem that was part of what he described as a "broken and corrupt system".


Anyong said...

So tell me MOS, how do we get the Canadian Government to stop avoiding Canadian people who have tax evasive bank accounts in the Cayman Islands? The Canadian Government is losing 200 million dollars every year which could be the saviour to our health care system. We as Canadians do nothing about this travesty either..just like Greece.

The Mound of Sound said...

I think your figure is probably a lowball estimate, Anyong. In my day I knew senior accountants at major Vancouver firms who specialized in the lucrative business of assisting affluent immigrants to shelter assets and income from the reach of the Canadian tax collector. $200 million a year sounds like a drop in the bucket.

Anyong said...

It may be lowball however, it is still going on and something needs to be done about it. But don't hold your breath. It would be interesting to know just how many Canadians hide their money away.