Greece Seeks Taxes From Wealthy With Cash Havens in London

Wealthy Greeks have been funneling funds into foreign accounts and real estate, notably most recently in London.

One such Greek, Lavrentis Lavrentiadis, was shopping around in South Kensington, one of London’s premier neighborhoods for the foreign elite, with a £60 million (nearly $100 million) bid, in 2011.

But Lavrentiadis never bought a home and months later his small lending institution, Proton Bank, was seized, The New York Timesreports. He now is suspected of moving money out of Greece and the Greek government is currently conducting an investigation of his activities to see whether he was involved in illegal activities, such as money laundering or fraud.

Burdened by debt, Greece is looking anywhere it can to find funds.

Per request of the Athens governement, a detailed list from British financial authorities includes the names of about 400 Greek citizens who either bought or sold property in London since 2009.

The list has yet to be publicly disclosed, although Greek officials are reviewing the list to see whether the people named mislead tax authorities by misquoting their wealth.

Under pressure from its lenders, the Greek government is working adamantly to reduce its deficit by 13.5 billion euros, by introducing a package of austerity measures.

According to The New York Times, that amount and more could have been recovered by taxes that slipped through the system:

“Studies have shown that the country may be forgoing as much as 30 billion euros a year in uncollected taxes, with a significant portion of that amount having been shipped out of the country as the affluent seek shelter from Greece’s financial storm.”