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The "Lagarde List" scandal is blowing up

02 January 2013 / 22:01:43  GRReporter
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Eleni Papakonstantinou, who is a cousin of the former Finance Minister George Papakosnatinou, left the Board of the Privatisation Agency, after her name appeared at the bottom of another political corruption scandal in Greece. According to her, the funds in her bank account abroad are the result of legal and declared activities, however, she withdrew from her post to avoid compromising the work of the privatisation agency.

The cousin of the minister, her husband, Simeon Sikiardis, and Andreas Rossoni (who is the husband of another cousin of Papakonstantinou) are considered suspects and the prosecution has called them in connection with the case of the list of Greeks with fat bank accounts in the Swiss branch of HSBC known as the "Lagarde List." An inspection has shown that their names are the only ones missing from the first version of the list of wealthy Greeks with money abroad that George Papakonstantinou hid while he was in power.

Papakonstantinou admitted before the "Transparency" investigation parliamentary commission a few weeks ago that he had received the list, but because he did not know what to do with it, he had given iit to employees in the office to keep it. The former minister did not name the employee, who had taken responsibility for the list, but said that shortly after that, he did not know its whereabouts. Now, all of Papakosntantinou’s support staff during the time when he was Minister of Finance should face the prosecution.

The only defence, on which Geogre Papakonstantinou still relies, is that he would have never committed such a clear violation. He would not have deleted the names of his relatives from the list of potential tax cheats at a time when he swore that he would deal with tax crime. The fact that he did not take advantage of the remaining 2059 names of Greeks with fat deposits abroad does not act in his favour.

The story he told before the commission sounded very doubtful which has generated severe responses from the opposition and the public. SYRIZA insists on the inclusion of the names of the current leader of PASOK, Evangelos Venizelos, who took over the Ministry of Finance from Papakonstantinou and the former Prime Minister George Papandreou in the investigation of the parliamentary commission. The radical left wants them both to be indicted politically and perhaps even criminally along with Papakosntantinou.

SYRIZA insists that the current Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras should become part of the "usual" suspects in the investigation. The opposition also insists that Stournaras needed three months to bring the truth to light and only then after serious public pressure, which is considered a very long period. Yiannis Stournaras hit back and hastened to respond to the attacks quite openly, "I brought the authentic "Lagarde List," not someone else. If SYRIZA wants to investigate me, let them do so."

While the parliamentary opposition relies more heavily on a political twist caused by the "Lagarde List" scandal, the justice wants to find out who were the officials who hid the existence of the list of fat bank accounts in Switzerland, what their motives were and who deleted the three names of the Papakonstantinou family. So far, everything points to George Papakonstantinou but the former head of the Greek tax services, Ioannis Diotis, is expected to face the prosecution soon too. He suggests that there was political influence over the tax services in order to avoid carrying out crosschecks of the citizens on the "Lagarde List."

Tags: EconomyLagaarde ListScandalGreeceTaxesBank accounts
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