By G. Kouros
Greece's independent public revenues authority on Monday pointed to no less than 14 "indications", as it said, pointing to money laundering, in a briefing of chambers of commerce officials, as well as representatives of business groups representing jewelers, realtors, car importers and even fine arts dealers.
The head of the tax authority, Giorgos Pitsilis, said auditors will soon begin cross-checking "suspicious transactions" by accountants, real estate agents, merchants and others, with commensurate fines to be imposed.
Among the 14 "suspicious" practices or indications the Greek tax authority pointed to are an "unwillingness" by a client or a client's representative to provide required documentation to prove one's identity; insistence by the client on paying in cash; using personal bank accounts instead of corporate ones in cases of transactions by a company; transactions for high-price objects (speedboats, luxury cars, fine art etc.) by buyers ostensibly based in so-called "off-shore tax havens"; unusual "nervousness" by a client or clients; repeated transactions for sums just below the limit for declaring the latter to the tax bureau; frequent changes in a client's address that is unconnected with professional activity; constant changes in a client's appearance; home and business phones permanently off the hook, as well as real estate transactions where a property has very recently passed into the possession of the seller.