ATHENS — In the wealthy, northern suburbs of this city, where summer temperatures often hit the high 90s, just 324 residents checked the box on their tax returns admitting that they owned pools.
So tax investigators studied satellite photos of the area — a sprawling collection of expensive villas tucked behind tall gates — and came back with a decidedly different number: 16,974 pools.
That kind of wholesale lying about assets, and other eye-popping cases that are surfacing in the news media here, points to the staggering breadth of tax dodging that has long been a way of life here.
Such evasion has played a significant role in Greece’s debt crisis, and as the country struggles to get its financial house in order, it is going after tax cheats as never before.
Why have women played such a crucial role in the crisis? To put it simply, they voted overwhelmingly to reject the bail-out package suggested for their country. Almost two in three women – or 62.3 per cent – voted “No in the referendum, a figure higher than their male counterparts.
This is intriguing.
I had assumed that women would be less likely than men to vote No (which serves as a reminder to never assume anything before checking the facts). As a generalisation, women tend to lean towards the status quo in referendums, and to be less risk averse than men.
In the Scottish referendum, for instance, women were significantly less likely to vote for independence than men. According to the biggest study of the results, by Edinburgh University, 56.6 per cent of women voted No compared to 46.8 per cent of men.
Greek premier Alexis Tsipras never expected to win Sunday's referendum on EMU bail-out terms, let alone to preside over a blazing national revolt against foreign control.
He called the snap vote with the expectation - and intention - of losing it. The plan was to put up a good fight, accept honourable defeat, and hand over the keys of the Maximos Mansion, leaving it to others to implement the June 25 "ultimatum" and suffer the opprobrium.
This ultimatum came as a shock to the Greek cabinet. They thought they were on the cusp of a deal, bad though it was. Mr Tsipras had already made the decision to acquiesce to austerity demands, recognizing that Syriza had failed to bring about a debtors' cartel of southern EMU states and had seriously misjudged the mood across the eurozone.
Instead they were confronted with a text from the creditors that upped the ante, demanding a rise in VAT on tourist hotels from 7pc (de facto) to 23pc at a single stroke.