Margaret Papandreou, mother of former prime minister George Papandreou, has no connection to a list of 2,059 Greeks with deposits in the Geneva, Switzerland branch of HSBC bank that hasn’t been checked for possible tax evader, prosecutors have declared.
Earlier reports from two Greek newspapers, To Vima and Proto Thema, indicated that her name was behind that of another depositor who it was revealed worked for a hedge fund and was the holder of a $550 million account, but the newspaper Kathimerini reported that prosecutors found no link at all.
Sources told Kathimerini that the investigation into the list is being hampered because HSBC has deleted records of many of the account transactions as Swiss law requires only the previous 10 years’ worth of data to be kept. Many of the accounts on the list were opened in the 1990’s.
Swiss authorities have also rejected a Greek request for details of any other bank accounts held by depositors included on the so-called Lagarde list, named for former French finance minister Christine Lagarde, who gave a CD of data stolen from the bank by an employee to former Greek finance minister George Papaconstantinou two years ago. He said it mysteriously vanished.
Former Prime Minister George Papandreou and his mother vehemently denied the initial reports and said they were being smeared and that she might sue the newspapers who made the erroneous report. “The publications… are clearly targeting me and the policies I implemented against all manner of political and personal interests,” the former premier said.
Margaret Papandreou, also wife of former Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou, suggested that they were a personal attack against her family, dismissing the allegations as “lies and false accusations.” She added that, “The people in charge of the newspapers To Vima and Proto Thema have the experience to know that they should have simply asked me, investigated the case before they published anything. Cowardly and immoral, they did not.”
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