Friday, 3 October 2014

Outstanding VAT debts: German “Hochtief” owes €600m to Greek FinMin

Posted by keeptalkinggreece in Economy
An Athens court confirmed Greek government’s tax claims from the giant German constructor Hochtief. According to the court, the Greek government has every right to claim approximately €600million from the company that runs Athens airport “Eleftherios Venizelos”. The company has not paid any Value Added Tax since 2001, that is in more than 20 years that has been running the airport.
According to Greek media, Hochtief is being considered as the biggest tax evader in Greece. The court decisions is (29. Sept 2014) to be implemented immediately and executed by the tax office in charge for Hochtief.
The German company has appealed several times to Greek justice that it is VAT-free citing “special arrangement.” Hochtief’s appeals have been turned down by the Legal Court of the State.
“Together with other outstanding payments, like those to social security funds, it might have to pay more than 1 billion Euros,” notes website Neurope.eu stressing that
 “It must be noted that under the “Troika” austerity programme Greek employees lost around 400 million Euros from cuts to their salaries.”
The court ruling refers to VAT debts up to year 2012. In 2013 and 2014 airport arrivals have increased up to 25%.
Greek government has a long battle with Hochtief over the unpaid VAT, however despite court decisions the Greek Finance Ministry has not proceed to any confiscation measures as it would do with any average Greek company with outstanding VAT debts.
Hochtief, which is the biggest German Construction company, specializing in airports, was also running the Athens International airport through a subsidiary until 2013, when it sold it’s share to a Canadian company.
PS Imagine Financial Crime Units (SDOE), prosecutors and police forces entering EL VEL airport and seizing ticket counters, floor tiles, window glasses and even the airport tower. huh? really scary.

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