Greek Investigators Audit Knossos Museum on Suspicion of Tax Fraud

Many of the artifacts in the museum come from the ruins of Knossos, which is considered Europe's oldest city Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The museum at the ruins of Knossos is one of Greece’s most visited tourist destinations
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The gift shop at Greece’s Minoan Palace ruins museum at Knossos, Crete is being investigated for tax fraud by the country’s fiscal authorities after tourists complained that the shop wasn’t issuing receipts for souvenir purchases.

According to AFP inspectors found 534 breaches of tax regulations after conducting only one day of investigations. Even the shop’s cash register was found to have been left unplugged.

Greece is struggling to change a widespread culture of tax evasion amid a mounting debt crisis.

The museum gift shop's cash register was found to have been unplugged. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The palace of Knossos was the ceremonial and political center of the Minoan civilization.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

News that Greece’s cultural institutions, which drive the country’s essential tourism industry, could be involved in tax avoidance come as the government agrees on a third bailout deal.

Taking a tough stance on tax evasion has been one of the key reforms demanded by Greece’s creditors in exchange for another bailout loan.

Against the backdrop of ongoing talks with the European Union and the IMF, Culture Minister Nikos Xydakis vowed that the government would have “zero tolerance” for cultural institutions found guilty of avoiding tax.

Greek Culture Minister Nikos Xydakis announced a zero tolerance approach against Greek cultural institutions found guilty of tax evasion. Photo:

Greek Culture Minister Nikos Xydakis announced strict measures against cultural institutions found guilty of tax fraud

“We await a report from the tax authorities before launching immediate disciplinary action,” he announced in a statement.

Meanwhile Greece’s former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis suggested using mystery shoppers posing as tourists to uncover and deter other museums from withholding tax revenue from the state.

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