Greece probes thousands of civil servants who allegedly sent 1.45B euros abroad during crisis

Greek authorities are investigating more than 5,000 civil servants for potential tax offenses after they allegedly sent large cash sums out of the country during Greece's acute financial crisis.

The public administration reform ministry says the civil servants under investigation sent a total 1.45 billion euros ($1.83 billion) — on average, 275,000 euros each — abroad since the crisis erupted in 2009.

The ministry said Thursday tax officials will focus on checking the declared incomes of 415 people — mostly doctors and educators — who left the civil service since the probe started.

Despite a radical increase in taxation as part of austerity measures taken to secure international bailouts, Greek authorities are still struggling to cope with deeply ingrained tax evasion.