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Page last updated at 09:17 GMT, Friday, 14 May 2010 10:17 UK

Greek 'tax-dodging' doctors named

By Malcolm Brabant
BBC News, Athens

Greek pensioner at protest
Ordinary Greeks are angry at pay cuts and tax rises

Greek authorities have started naming and shaming doctors alleged to have avoided paying taxes.

The finance ministry has published the names of 57 doctors who are accused of failing to pay tax.

The ministry imposed fines of several hundred thousand euros on 11 of the worst offenders.

The crackdown is part of a campaign to stop the widespread corruption and tax evasion that have contributed to Greece's debt crisis.

The finance ministry warned that it would confiscate the contents of bank accounts belonging to those who owed money to the state.

It estimates that by seizing such accounts, it can collect more than $40bn (£27bn), which constitutes 10% of Greece's enormous national debt.

The government's move is designed to satisfy widespread public demands for tax cheats to be punished.

It also aims to pacify ordinary people who are angry that they are having to suffer pay cuts and tax rises and believe that the rich are escaping scot-free.

Doctors, along with lawyers and other freelance, middle-class professionals, have been accused of fuelling Greece's black economy by failing to give receipts and under-declaring income.

While the name-and-shame campaign will undoubtedly win approval in some quarters of Greek society, it will also increase pressure on the government to lift parliamentary immunity, which currently protects corrupt politicians from being prosecuted.



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