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Which country wants tourists to become spies?


Greece finds novel way to catch tax cheats

Fancy adding a little espionage to your next holiday? If you do, the Greek government may just call upon your services as it plans to hire an army of "non-professional" investigators, including tourists, to help catch tax evaders.

 

Hoping to fill a gaping hole in the country’s finances, the move could see “casual onlookers” carry hidden cameras and recording devices to catch the crooks, according to a leaked document published by the Financial Times.

 

“The culture of tax avoidance runs deep within Greek society. Tax authorities are not only understaffed but immersed in the logic of book-checking when the real problem lies off the books,” said the document, which was due to be presented to the Eurogroup in Brussels this week, AFP reported. 

 

A copy of a letter apparently sent by Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis to Eurogroup president Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the leak stated “students, housekeepers, even tourists” could be recruited with minimal training as their presence on the streets would be deterrent enough.

 

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According to AFP, Varoufakis argued the undercover army could go where traditional tax inspectors weren’t able to, helping fight VAT fraud “that typifies nightclubs and medical services”.

 

But don’t expect a long-term contract to fund your trip to the Greek Isles, as the new spy team would only be hired  “on a strictly short-term casual basis – no longer than two months and without any prospect of being rehired”.

 

Would you ever consider doing a little spy work on your next vacation?

 


Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 11 March 2015


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