Weekly Greek newspaper, Proto Thema, revealed that article 178 of the omnibus bill passed through in Greek Parliament on May 22 permits government ministers to own their own off-shore companies provided their headquarters are based in countries that Greece has tax co-operations with. The tide of public opinion was outraged that the new regulation allows MPs to have off-shore companies in tax havens like the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda or the Cayman Islands.
The law was voted upon by 153 deputies of the Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) ruling party and its junior government coalition member, right-wing Independent Greeks (ANEL).
A political storm followed Proto Thema’s revelation that the bill allowed MPs to own off-shore companies. The main opposition New Democracy party was the first to issue a scathing attack, stating that the ruling party that ‘stole’ the vote of the people in the name of ‘morality and transparency’ were legislating in favor of MPs owning off-shore companies. The harsh statement blasts SYRIZA as being the party of ‘hatred and division’ .
Socialist PASOK and the Democratic Left called for the withdrawal of article 178 from the bill. Centrist Potami called for explanations over the specific article in the bill.
The Greek Ministry of Justice responded to the reports stating that the bill’s goal with the necessity of assets declarations wanted to cover the gaps in existing legislation caused by erroneous legislative frameworks set up over the last ten years.