After being exempted from an investigation into why a list of 2,062 Greeks with $1.95 billion in deposits in secret Swiss bank accounts hadn’t been checked for tax evasion – although he had it in his possession – former finance minister Evangelos Venizelos, now head of the PASOK Socialists, is now expected to testify before a Parliamentary committee in the handling of the affair.
The list is named for former French finance minister Christine Lagarde who gave it to Venizelos’ predecessor as finance chief, George Papaconstantinou, in 2010. He is the primary focus of the probe because the names of three of his relatives were found to have been erased from the initial list. He denied any wrongdoing.
Besides Venizelos, former prime minister George Papandreou, who was their boss as the former head of the Socialists, is also being invited to testify but the committee said it wouldn’t compel him to show. The head of the committee, Christos Markoyiannakis, said the panel is likely to unveil its findings after the Easter break.
Venizelos said he didn’t check the names for possible tax evaders because it was came off a CD of a larger list of customers of the Geneva branch of HSBC that was stolen by a former employee there, but Lagarde said other countries had used it to combat tax cheating.