Thursday, 17 January 2013

'"Lagarde List" Greeks Fight back Against Corruption

By Samuel Ezerzer
January 17th 2013

former French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde (above)

In Greece there is an unfolding corruption scandal involving a list of thousands of Greeks with Swiss bank accounts took a new twist on Friday, the target is the former finance minister who received the list on Greece's behalf.

listen to BBC commentators (have a drive with me to listen)

Finance Minister Yiannis Stournaras will be asking French officials to give them the  original list of 2000 Greeks with $1.95 billion in deposits in the Geneva branch of HSBC Bank to check for possible tax evasion after greek prosecutors were said to doubt the authenticity of a version given them by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ office.

He quoted saying
"I have not made any intervention in the details that I asked for and received from the French authorities," Mr. Papaconstantinou wrote on his personal website Friday. "If there are accounts on the list that relate to people in my wider family environment, this is something that I did not know of until today."
Former finance minister Evangelos Venizelos gave the memory stick list of  names to Samaras’ office and that it was then given to Stylianos Stasinopoulos, who was appointed by Samaras to head the financial crimes squad SDOE.

-The original CD, had 24,000 names of the bank’s depositors
-it was stolen and handed over to French authorities
-it was given to  George Papaconstantinou, in 2010 by then French finance minister Christine Lagarde.
source Greek reporter 

Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos is being investigated for failing to check Greek depositors in a Swiss bank for tax evasion at the time when he was finance minister.
It has all the makings of a political thriller: high-ranking ministers, alleged cover-ups and suspected tax evasion, for long a national sport here. But the "Lagarde list" has captivated Greeks for other reasons too, because it seems to confirm what many have long believed: that corruption still eats at the heart of this troubled country; that the inequality between rich and poor has grown; and that there's one rule for the "haves" and another for the "have-nots".

Some commentators suggest a cover-up to protect powerful individuals in Greece.Former financial squad officials may also face prosecution for their handling of the list.

This is a nation furious with austerity and political mismanagement - not just during the financial crisis, but for decades. Greeks are baying for the blood of their politicians, desperate for somebody to be punished for this mess. Could this - the biggest tax scandal in Greece for years - finally be that moment?

click source
BBC News, Athens