PM backs min­is­ter on crit­i­cism of au­dit rul­ing

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras yes­ter­day threw his sup­port be­hind out­spo­ken Al­ter­nate Health Min­is­ter Pav­los Po­lakis after the lat­ter crit­i­cized a re­cent court de­ci­sion that es­sen­tially thwarts the gov­ern­ment’s hopes of se­cur­ing a wind­fall from tax au­dit rev­enues.

In a post on his Face­book page on Thursday, Po­lakis had crit­i­cized the de­ci­sion by the Coun­cil of State by means of a poem that slams Greek judges and sug­gests they are be­holden to ma­jor busi­ness and me­dia in­ter­ests. The union of judges hit back at the post­ing, de­scrib­ing Po­lakis’s crit­i­cism as “ig­no­rant.”

Dur­ing a visit to the Health Min­istry yes­ter­day, Tsipras backed Po­lakis in the dis­pute. “De­spite the dif­fi­cul­ties that we con­stantly face, we ig­no­ra­muses man­age and of­ten over­come in­sti­tu­tional ob­sta­cles which... of­ten set up ob­sta­cles be­fore us.”

The com­ments came fol­low­ing news of the court’s de­ci­sion which was made pub­lic ear­lier this week and which will re­sult in hun­dreds of thou­sands of tax au­dits be­ing can­celed. Ac­cord­ing to the rul­ing, any au­dits con­ducted that stretch back be­yond a five-year limit have been deemed un­con­sti­tu­tional.

Ac­cord­ing to the court’s de­ci­sion, the state’s au­dits must be con­ducted within a “rea­son­able” time frame. This, it said, is in view of the fact that the au­dits are now far eas­ier to con­duct than in the past.

The de­ci­sion is ex­pected to af­fect cases in­volv­ing peo­ple in­cluded on lists of large ac­count hold­ers abroad, such as the so­called La­garde List, which in­cludes wealthy Greek de­pos­i­tors with Swiss bank ac­counts.

The list, which was given to Greek au­thor­i­ties in 2010 by then French fi­nance min­is­ter Chris­tine La­garde, fea­tures 2,062 ac­counts linked to 1,725 in­di­vid­u­als and busi­nesses.

Re­spond­ing to the pre­mier’s com­ments yes­ter­day, the main con­ser­va­tive op­po­si­tion New Democ­racy ac­cused him of “iden­ti­fy­ing with the most ex­treme po­lit­i­cal fig­ures.” “After his sup­port for Mr Kam­menos, to­day he shows us that the same ap­plies for Mr Po­lakis,” ND said, re­fer­ring to De­fense Min­is­ter Panos Kam­menos, another out­spo­ken politi­cian who is Tsipras’s coali­tion part­ner. “Apart from per­ma­nent aus­ter­ity, we also have per­ma­nent vul­gar­ity,” ND added.

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