Greek tax man targets business, Chili Peppers concert

Thu Sep 6, 2012 2:37pm EDT
 
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ATHENS (Reuters) - The Greek government's quest to clamp down on tax evaders has netted tens of millions of euros, it said on Thursday, as tax inspectors head to island resorts and rock concerts to fine wrongdoers and seize assets.

Unauthorised sellers of paraphernalia such as hats, light sticks and flags at a concert by U.S. rock group Red Hot Chili Peppers in Athens were fined up to 5,000 euros ($6,300) each, according to one of three government press releases on tax evasion issued on Thursday.

"There will be no more tolerance for tax evasion," Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said in another release, saying authorities had seized deposits, houses and luxurious cars owned by tax evaders.

The government has stepped up checks in popular tourism spots after outraged restaurant owners last month chased tax inspectors through town on the island resort of Hydra.

As many as 80 percent of inspected establishments on places like Crete, Corfu and Santorini were found in violation of tax laws, the finance ministry said.

Greece is trying to rake in unpaid tax as one means of plugging a huge budget hole. Other policies include increasing taxes and cutting public spending.

Inspectors of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund return to Athens on Friday to evaluate Greece's progress in meeting its budget and economic reform targets. ($1 = 0.7915 euros)

(Reporting by Harry Papachristou; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)