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Georgiades’ doubts over Lagarde list

17/09/2015 11:19
Finance Minister Haris Georgiades doubts, whether Cyprus has the expertise to process in the best way the notorious Lagarde list, which includes names of natural and legal persons who held deposits at the Bank of Switzerland in the period 2005- 2006.

Speaking this morning on national radio, Mr. Georgiades noted that his concern is whether the relevant tax department, with the available technological infrastructures, will manage to handle the huge amount of information, "not on that list but from procedures of automatic exchange of information which have essentially abolish banking secrecy. "

He explained that "abolishing banking secrecy does not mean that the data of each citizen or each depositor will be published by the media for everyone to know."

"Abolition of bank secrecy means that the competent authorities of the state shall have full access and not anyone else" he said.

He pointed out that the Cypriot tax authorities should have the capabilities to process this information.

"I do not think that the situation is excellent with respect to infrastructure, staffing or the technological infrastructure of the competent department, which is why we are concentrating our efforts to uniting two tax departments in order to create synergies, new structures, procedures and new laws, " the minister said, adding that:

"This is where we focus our efforts if we want to strengthen the ability of tax collection and the State’s control capability in relation to taxation matters."

Asked about the claim of parliament for the Lagarde list to be submitted at the office of the president of parliament Yiannakis Omirou, the finance minister noted that "whatever the request it is not only my own intuition, or view. I will ask for legal advice and examine the request with the curator of taxation. "

"If the request is to ensure that the list will remain unaltered, then we are on the same wavelength with the legislative power," Mr. Georgiades added.

He reiterated that members of the parliament do not have the right, according to the law, to see the information of citizens who hold a bank account, whether it is in Cyprus, or in Switzerland.

He explained that "this operation, ie, the control if someone on the list is found to be a tax evader, is not up to us politicians to make but up to the curator of taxation".