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The fight against money laundering has reached the Church

21 November 2012 / 18:11:33  GRReporter
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About 100 thousand Greeks are expected to be called by the banks to explain the transactions in their bank accounts. Financial institutions will "invite" on 23 November all of their customers carrying out financial operations to the amount of 100 thousand euro each year without declaring these amounts in their tax returns.

Account holders will have to visit the banks by the end of the year. If they do not respond, the banks will send negative reports about them to the money laundering commission.

The inspection is based on the order by the president of the Bank of Greece issued in February this year concerning the new method of checking unusual or suspicious financial transactions related to tax evasion or money laundering.

In recent weeks, bank employees have been comparing the financial operations of all account holders with their tax returns. It is believed that the number of holders inspected in each of the major banks will be between 8 and 20 thousand people.

According to the initial estimates, at least 10% of these customers will not respond to the invitation. Over 20% will not be able to provide satisfactory explanations for the difference between the amounts in their bank accounts and their tax returns. If the estimates prove correct, the money laundering commission will receive over 30 thousand reports of suspicious financial transactions.

Meanwhile, the economic prosecutors Grigoris Peponis and Spiros Mouzakitis have turned to the Ministry of Finance for the list of the names of the Greeks, who have accounts in the HSBC bank on the British Jersey Island. They have alerted the department to require their data from the British government in order for their holders "to be subject to legal taxation."

According to sources, this list contains the names of 97 Greeks holding 8,474 offshore bank accounts and deposits to the total amount of 22.3 million euro. They have preferred the branch on the small island in the English Channel because of its tax haven status.

The Daily Telegraph newspaper has revealed the existence of the list and a representative of the British tax authorities has confirmed the data presented in the report. The article states that the financial control authorities in the UK will also investigate the 97 Greek citizens to ensure that they have business activities in the Old Albion as well.

Recently, the leadership of the Greek Orthodox Church announced that the religious institution is facing serious financial problems and is threatened with bankruptcy. This obviously does not concern two of the metropolitans, whom the services combating financial crime have been investigating because of their extremely high bank deposits.

Sources say they have never declared these funds nor can they prove them on the basis of their income. Authorities are investigating whether the metropolitans or the persons responsible for the financial matters in their Metropolises have been involved in the legalization of proceeds from criminal activities.

Meanwhile, the financial police have found three million euro in the bank account of a priest from the bishopric in the Athens suburb of Peristeri. As it has become clear, he is part of the group that controls the finances of the Church institution.

According to members of the supervisory authorities, there were complaints against this man about organizing informal lotteries, embezzling the money the company managing the Athens metro had donated to the church, where he served, stealing money from the donation box in the church and products from supermarkets. The priest denies the allegations but at the same time, he hastened to pay a fine of almost 1.3 million euro to the tax service to fill the gap between the bank deposits and the income declared in his tax return.

Tags: EconomyMoney laudnringBank accountsForeign bankMetropolitans
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