Police in Greece have arrested a journalist who published a list of the country's political and business elite holding Swiss bank accounts.
The whistleblower accuses the Greek government of failing to go after tax evaders, while at the same time preparing to push through more belt-tightening measures for the struggling population.
Yanis Varoufakis, professor of Economics at the University of Athens, says politicians are reluctant to investigate because of their own involvement.
The leading investigative reporter in Greece had been arrested for “effectively serving the public interest,” Varoufakis told RT. He says Greek politicians are not keen to expose corruption as the country’s political and business elite have historically been intertwined.
“Let’s not beat about the bush. The great problem with tax evasion in Greece…it is one of the reasons that Greece is being portrayed internationally as a corrupt country, and Greeks on the streets who pay their taxes, work very hard and are suffering are incensed at how they are portrayed internationally,” Varoufakis said.
“The fact is that for the last 30-40 years, the rich in Greece has enjoyed a kind of tax immunity. They’re not really tax evaders, they’re immune from tax because of the cozy relationship that they have with politicians who legislate in a way that makes that tax immunity,” he continued.
He argues that this conflict of interest has made Greek politicians more interested in covering up tax evasion than exposing it.
“Look, for three years now during this crisis while austerity is being imposed, the vast majority of workers have no alternative but to pay their taxes. Politicians of the major parties are pointing moralizing fingers at the weak members of Greek society saying ‘oh, you have not been paying your taxes, you’re a tax evader, this is why we are in such a terrible state.’ So now that the truth is coming about their tax evasion, the fact that tax evasion is played very skillfully by the rich, as it has been done for 30-40 years, now their particularly keen to be idle in the face of such a list.”