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Retired German tax experts sought for Greece: report

A media report says the IMF is looking for retired German tax experts to help set up a viable financial system in Greece. This comes as Athens struggles to implement reforms needed to obtain further financial aid.

In its report, the German business magazine "Wirtschaftswoche" wrote that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was seeking German pensioners with tax administration experience to form a pool of experts to help rebuild Greece's failing financial system.

The magazine said that particularly those retirees who had held positions of leadership were wanted.

In addition, the report said, around 170 tax experts from Germany's 16 regional states and its federal fiscal authorities were in readiness to help Athens establish efficient fiscal structures.

However, so far only seven of these had undertaken small tasks in Athens, the magazine wrote, quoting sources from the Finance Ministry in Berlin. It said they had held two and three-day workshops to train Greek finance officials in external tax audits, tax enforcement and dealing with large companies and wealthy citizens.

Fear of 'domino effect'

Meanwhile, both "Wirtschaftswoche" and the weekly "Focus" reported that Greece can expect to receive further financial aid from Europe even if it does not completely fulfil the terms of its deal.

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German industry leader outlines risks

An EU diplomat told "Wirtschaftswoche" that a report by the so-called "troika" of financial experts sent to assess the success of Greece's fiscal reforms would say that the country had made progress, but not enough.

However, Greece would still receive the next 31-billion-euro tranche of bailout money, he said, because of "the fear of a domino effect" if Greece left the euro zone. The impact would be "too big."

It was, however, unclear when exactly the next report of the troika from the European Central Bank, IMF and EU, scheduled for October, would be presented.

The troika, which returns to Athens on Sunday, had given the coalition government of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras a week to finalize an austerity package worth 13.5 billion euros ($17.5 billion) to unlock the frozen EU-IMF loans..

Greece's Prime Minister Antonis Samaras . (Photo:Nikolas Giakoumidis/AP/dapd)

Samaras still has a difficult task before him

The support funds, part of a Greek bailout worth 130 billion euros overall, had been suspended in May after reforms ground to a halt as Greece struggled to find a government.

Extension request

Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said on Friday that the coalition had agreed on the "main points" of the austerity package.

But Socialist and moderate leftist parties in the coalition have been urging the conservative Samaras to persuade the troika to grant Greece a two-year extension to 2016 to implement the austerity measures.

"Spreading the [austerity] measures over four years will make them milder," said one of the three coalition partners, socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos.

An EU summit on October 18 and 19 is expected to decide on the request for an extension.

After two years of austerity, nearly one in four Greeks is unemployed, according to official figures.

tj/ipj (Reuters, AFP, dapd)

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