Credit card terminals run afoul of Greek cash controls

Police in Greece on Monday said 24 people had been arrested on suspicion of dodging the country’s rigid capital controls through the use of wireless credit card terminals registered abroad, sold by Luxembourg registered company.

“We have arrested 24 people representing companies that made use of these terminals,” Emmanouil Ploumis, head of Greece’s financial crimes police, told reporters.

Remote point-of-sale systems have become popular in Greece alongside a rise in credit card use after capital controls were imposed in June 2015 to avert a bank collapse.

But whereas most Greeks can only withdraw 840 euros from their bank accounts over a two-week period, the specific POS users had a ceiling of 15,000 euros a month, by virtue of being registered abroad.

The terminals were sold to Greek businesses by a company registered in Luxembourg, although the name has not be reveled, and were linked to two banks in Bulgaria and Malta, Ploumis said.

The police seized 164 terminals and are looking for over a thousand more.

The authorities are now trying to determine whether the POS system also enabled its operators to dodge Greek tax.

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