ATHENS, Greece – The Greek government wants to give tax authorities the power to empty the bank accounts of accused tax evaders, even if they have not been convicted.
The Justice Ministry on Wednesday proposed a new law, to be voted on by parliament in coming weeks, that will apply to people formally charged with tax evasion, smuggling, money laundering and concealing assets.
Tax authorities will be able to access suspects' accounts and deduct sums they allegedly owe. If the suspects are acquitted in court, the funds will be returned.
Greece is struggling through its worst financial crisis in decades, and has imposed harsh income cuts and tax hikes to secure rescue loans.
Despite pledges in recent years to crack down on rampant tax evasion, authorities have failed to significantly address the problem.