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Greece Gets Swiss Bank List Again

Lagarde List LeakedGreece’s Finance Ministry said French authorities have once again given it details of Greeks with bank accounts in Switzerland for use in investigating possible tax evasion, after an original list was ignored, misplaced and discredited.
A ministry statement said the document was received Dec. 21 and promptly forwarded to prosecutors although the government has had it for more than two years and ignored it and has shown no signs yet of vetting it for tax evaders. A Parliamentary committee controlled by government lawmakers this week voted not to investigate the handling of the list and to set it aside.
Greece’s handling of the information stirred deep resentment amid the widespread perception that rich tax-evaders still enjoy an easy ride despite the country’s acute debt crisis. The list drew from data on 24,000 HSBC customers that the bank reported stolen. It has been dubbed the Lagarde List after former French finance minister Christine Lagarde – now the head of the International Monetary Fund, one of Greece’s Troika of lenders – who first gave it to Greek authorities.
Athens got the list in 2010 but did nothing, as it had been allegedly irregularly obtained through a former HSBC employee. It resurfaced weeks ago, but prosecutors investigating the case demanded the original, citing fears their copy might have been doctored. There are no signs the government intends to use it to check for possible tax evasion but instead is prosecuting for a second time a journalist who released the names and claimed that the government was favoring rich and powerful people.
(Source: AP)

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