Greece appoints lawyer as top tax official

ATHENS, June 23 Mon Jun 23, 2014 2:42pm EDT

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ATHENS, June 23 (Reuters) - Greece's government named lawyer Katerina Savvaidou as the country's top tax official on Monday after her predecessor abruptly resigned under a cloud, causing concern among the country's international lenders.

Harry Theoharis stepped down this month after just over a year in the post. He cited personal reasons but Greek media said the government blamed him for mishandling some aspects of his job. His sudden departure cast doubt over Athens' commitment to implement reforms and raise tax revenues, a key condition of Greece's 240-billion euro ($326.22 billion) bailout from the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

The EU said that Theoharis's resignation was a cause for serious concern and urged the government to ensure continuity of the reforms to improve the efficiency of the state sector.

Greece has long struggled with patchy tax collection. Modernising its tax system and cracking down on tax dodging, which has contributed heavily to its debt crisis, is considered crucial for the country.

A senior manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Greece, Savvaidou, 42, studied law in Athens and public tax and finance law in Paris. She has also worked as an adviser at the finance ministry and as a tax adviser in the private sector.

The finance ministry said Savvaidou's appointment has to be approved by the cabinet. ($1 = 0.7357 euros) (Reporting by Renee Maltezou; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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