Former Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos was sentenced to eight years in jail and fined 520,000 euros on Monday. …
The ex-minister failed to declare 47,000 euros of assets in 2006, 33,000 in 2007 and 20,000 in 2008.
Also, he did not notify tax authorities that his wife Viki Stamati, also in custody, bought in 2009 the couple’s luxury home close to the Acropolis.
The court ordered that the property be seized. Judges also ruled that he cannot appeal his sentence.
This has scary parallels with FATCA and FBAR requirements. The United States debt situation is Greece on steroids. It is only a matter of time before the world rejects the US dollar as the intermediary of trade and the world’s reserve currency. When that takes place, the value of the dollar will collapse violently and the US public will start rioting in the streets in Greek style. Then, they will seek vengeance upon all those who failed to disclose financial accounts. If you want to know where the US is going, Greece is a precursor.
Now I don’t know about Greece’s democracy and their concept of rights. In the United States, however, it is a constitutional crime for the Federal government to require the inventory of personal assets and wealth taxes are unconstitutional. Thus, laws like FBAR and FATCA, therefore, are an extreme violation of the Fourth Amendment, and their fines, if applied to the full extent that the these unconstitutional laws permit, are a clear violation of the excessive fines clause in the Eighth Amendment. The FBAR fine could easily exceed 300% of assets only, but of course give Congress a chance–and desperate politicians will increase the fines to Greek levels (500% +).
I won’t defend Mr. Tsochatzopoulos. However, the fine for failure to report € 100,000 in assets (aggregated over three years!) of € 500,000 Euro, is clearly exorbitant. But then to also sentence him to eight years in prison without possibility of appeal shows that the Greek courts are seething with froth at their mouths that shows that this cradle of civilization has gone back to barbaric times when petty rulers could simply seize the property of any citizens only because his thugs were powerful and he had to feed them. The judgement against Mr. Tsochatzopoulos thus brings dread to my heart, for whither Greece goeth, so shall follow all the other bankrupt and insolvent democracies of the world. The attitude violates the Judeo-Christian world view of private property based upon the commandment, “Thou shalt not steal.” Government theft of private property is already sanctioned through civil forfeiture. This appears to be our future in the Western world.
Hat tip: Zerohedge
Spain appears to have a similar requirement to disclose offshore assets with equally scary penalties that can exceed the value of the assets.
In the U.S., DHS just bought 2700 light-armoured tanks.
Canada has a similar reporting requirement — Foreign Income Verification Statement (T1135 E). It’s an easy form to fill out though and you only report if have a total of over $100,000 outside Canada (includes funds, shares, indebtedness, trusts, real property and other property). I believe the penalty for not filing is $25 per day past the deadline. You file it with your tax return.
This from my same friend who said he was going back to Vermont to farm:
Now why in the heck does a domestic agency need 2700 light armored tanks?
The federal government is completely out of control.
These are for one purpose,to control crowds.
I would suggest never again to vote for a long established politician of ANY party.
Vote anti establishment, whether they are red,green,libertarian,commie or independent.
The technology being used by the federal government,in the name of homeland security,are extremely intrusive and dangerous in the wrong hands.
I have been in the security business for many years and the reason I stopped many of the technologies I have been working with is that they are becoming too intrusive and the checks and balances protecting our rights, in place, are not enough to protect our Constitutional rights and any enforcement comes at the hands of the agencies who may have a vested interest NOT to enforce the checks and balances.
It is out of control and our elected officials are supporting more intrusive policies and technologies.
Something needs to be done and quickly,to prevent these rapidly emerging new technologies from being used in surveillance of citizens, unless they are proven to be engaged in wrong doing.
We also can not trust our elected officials to do the right thing as they are unable to run any efficient organization…just look at the state of affairs in Washington today.
Oversight should be panels appointed by the states and not the Fed and should be independent with their decisions binding to the Fed.
Given all of the above,if conducive action is not taken soon,I fear that with the wrong people in power, we face a grim future, where it is possible that any disagreement with those in power can be met with action to suppress, by micro technology, of the likes not seen in the science fiction stories of years gone by.
Feel free to pass on to whom you may.
@Em, Canada is not an exception to the rule. The failure to report assets abroad on your income taxes can be subject to draconian fines. Of course, part of the filing requirements of assets of Mr. Tsochatzopoulos are in Greece and not abroad, but right under the noses of government. So evidently, Greece requires one to declare domestic assets as well. How long do you think before all assets must be declared to bankrupt governments, and then they come along and take what they need. They do not agree with the long standing Judeo-Christian ethic of private property. Everything belongs to the government, and they let you keep some of it for your needs until such a time as they feel that it should be handed over for the greater collective good. That is the attitude, throughout the Western world, of government officials and politicians and their followers, the “You didn’t build that” crowd.
@AJ, they need the DHS to militarize because as it stands, armies are not supposed to deploy to the 50 states without the permission of the state. But the DHS apparently has no such restrictions. So I believe the reason Obama wants the heavily militarized civilian force is to exercise federal power within the states. This is not about the defense of the United States but about controlling the domestic population.
I share your concern. It’s a matter of time. FATCA would be the beginning of your-info-is-our-info for ALL Canadians because the government would soon be saying what has been done to the least of Canada’s residents (the lowly 3 percenters) must, in all fairness, be done to all. It would be equal opportunity for the possibility of confiscation. As a Canadian, I have never given the USA the “key” to my bank account, even though my husband (soon to be Canadian, we hope) was pretty much forced to by the tiny type at the bottom of the FBAR form. The first time our eyes glommed onto that we couldn’t believe what we were reading. The USA is a corporation and everything within its borders (including people) and a whole lot beyond its borders are company property.
Your tone suggest that you are surprised by this. The simple fact is that the debt ridden governments of the world (with our very own Form Nation) leading the way HATE anybody (other than the members of the Homelander Elite Corp) with assets and/or who has been a responsible saver.
1. It is very clear to me that the “end game” of FATCA, FBAR and the rest will be direct confiscation of assets.
2. Through their policy of low interest rates they are completely destroying the retirements of the “savers”. Years of saving to provide capital for retirement, and they can’t get a return England is now considering a negative rate of interest?
3. After not getting a return on savings the capital will be destroyed through the coming inflation.
It is time to “rethink what wealth really is”. What we traditionally regard as wealth how will make you a target of government and other “envy specialists”.
Thing is though this has been created by “party centric democracies” which by their very nature cannot and will not represent the will of the people.
Real wealth will be the ability to live on very little money and to have maximum self-sufficiency.
“We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.” Barack Obama
DHS musta had a bunch of spare cash to dispose of before the sequestration hit em (if it did).
It seems to me that the fine was not just based on the €100,000 of undeclared assets, but on the value of the mansion as well, which is probably much higher than €500,000. Akis Tsochatzopoulos is also being tried for corruption and money laundering.
@Edelweiss, That article is oversimplifying the situation. The Spanish tax agency explains that undeclared assets are taxed as income only if the person cannot prove that the assets were acquired with income previously declared or earned as a nonresident. So, even if British expatriates in Spain haven’t declared their homes or other assets located in the UK, they should be able to show that they already had these assets before moving to Spain, and therefore avoid the penalties. Still, even if the person does hide assets abroad on purpose to evade taxes, I agree that a penalty of 150% of the tax due is grossly disproportional.
http://www.agenciatributaria.es/static_files/AEAT/Contenidos_Comunes/La_Agencia_Tributaria/Le_Interesa/Nota_Ley_7_12_fraude_fiscal.pdf (in Spanish)
In both cases (Greece and Spain), it seems to me that fines are imposed on undeclared assets when they are found to have been acquired with “hidden” income on which taxes were evaded. Therefore, the fines, although way too high in my opinion, are ultimately on the unpaid tax. The basic idea behind FATCA and FBAR penalties is the same, the undeclared assets are assumed to be income on which taxes were not paid, but the US doesn’t allow the person to show otherwise, like Spain logically does. If the US had a similar policy, which I believe the IRS has the authority to implement on its own without new legislation, we would probably not be writing in this blog.
@Shadow Raider: re ..”The basic idea behind FATCA and FBAR penalties is the same, the undeclared assets are assumed to be income on which taxes were not paid, but the US doesn’t allow the person to show otherwise”…
That US ‘assumption’ is so very very convenient for raising income via penalties, which cannot be raised via any actual US tax assessed or owed from those ‘abroad’. The US knows full well that we already have to pay in full where we live, and that we can use the FEIE and Foreign tax credits to help offset US taxes. That won’t cover everything, as we know, but it covers quite a bit. So the FBAR and FATCA is BS cover for an asset grab.
Does the US require those inside the US to report the exact equivalent of what the FBAR and FATCA form requires of us – i.e. on every possible financial account that a homelander has a signatory, co-signatory role, financial interest in, or even future contingent power over, etc. – including even non-personal accts like that of their homeland resident employer, or the accounts of someone who has named them as a potential POA for advance planning, or all voluntary and charitable roles as treasurer or board member with co-signing authority? If we ‘abroad’ must report on our employer’s accts, and on accts with only a future contingent power to access, then so should those inside the US – for those sacred horizontal equity principles. Make everyone inside the US report on the exact equivalent range of those assets that the FBAR and FATCA cover for us – and make them report the ‘highest’ balance on any one day in the year – instead of merely any taxable interest earned. See how they like that requirement.
It’s no use for the IRS to protest that US residents are subject to automatic reporting, and so would eventually pay tax or have witholdings when they actually benefited from any assets or investments, because in the case of their employer’s accts, they never would benefit, or if they did, it would be illicit, and wouldn’t be subject to automatic reporting to the IRS. The same for merely being named a future POA in case of incapacity. They couldn’t benefit from some future contingent event that hasn’t happened and may never happen, just as we can’t. So, why are we to report on a merely potential access to non-personal accounts, that is merely a theoretical access with no personal financial gain, but homelanders don’t? In the case of benefiting illicitly from our employer’s accounts, or someone else’s accts, that is a crime in every country – and is not ‘taxable income’. We would be prosecuted for doing that, and the countries where we live don’t need intrusive extraterritorial US help to uncover that kind of theft or embezzlement.
If the cost of keeping US citizenship begins to outweigh the cost of giving it up, boy will there be an avalanche of renunciations.
And we’ve all seen what happens when a Berlin Wall is built to prevent the outflow. In the past it didn’t last 30 years. These days, I give it 30 months max.