The Greek Supreme Court has sent to Parliament the case file relating to the so-called Lagarde list of some 2,059 Greek with $1.95 billion in deposits in the Geneva, Switzerland branch of HSBC that still hasn’t been vetted for possible tax evaders.
The details of the preliminary investigation were passed by prosecutor Nikos Pantelis to Justice Minister Antonis Roupakiotis. Parliament, which has a history of protecting its own, now has to decide whether any politicians should answer for alleged wrongdoing.
Former finance ministers Evangelos Venizelos and Giorgos Papaconstaninou deny failing to ensure authorities investigated the list properly to find if there were any tax invaders among the names.
Papaconstantinou was given the list in 2010 from his French counterpart, Christine Lagarde, now head of the International Monetary Fund, one of Greece’s Troika of lenders. He said he lost it, but Venizelos produced a copy on a memory stick.
The information came from a greater list on a CD that was stolen from the bank by an employee, prompting Venizelos to say it couldn’t be used to prosecute tax cheats, but Lagarde said other European countries had done so.
Ex-Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) chiefs Yiannis Kapeleris and Yiannis Diotis also reject accusations that they failed to do their jobs properly, but the list still hasn’t been used by the government, other than to prosecute a journalist who released the names and said that Prime Minister Antonis Samaras was trying to protect the rich and privileged.