The mother of former Greek prime minister George Papandreou, who said she had wrongly been named as having held a secret $550 million Swiss bank account on a list of 2,062 Greeks with deposits in the Geneva branch of HSBC, has sued financial investigators and three newspapers over the claims.
Margaret Papandreou, 90, sued Vima, Proto Thema and Dimokratia newspapers, asking for 200,000 euros ($263,300) in damages from each and six months in prison for the publishers. She is also taking action against SDOE officials Stelios Stasinopoulos, Evangelos Karamanos and Nikos Lekkas.
Greece has strict privacy laws that even have forbidden the publication of names of people who’ve committed wrongdoings and Papandreou said she was angry over the accusations she had denounced as false when they made.
She was alleged to be on the so-called Lagarde List, named for former French finance minister Christine Lagarde who had given it to former Greek finance minister George Papaconstantinou in 2010. He said it disappeared but when it resurfaced it showed the names of three of his relatives were missing and he’s being investigated.
The publications quoted SDOE officials as saying that Margaret Papandreou was behind the account. She said the report was designed to destroy the reputation of her family. Her son resigned as Prime Minister in November, 2011 after two years on the job during which he was hounded relentlessly by protests, strikes and riots over austerity measures he was imposing. The Lagarde List still hasn’t been checked for possible tax cheats.
Stasinopoulos was appointed to his position by Prime Minister Antonis Samaras but has done virtually nothing to speed the process of going after tax evaders who owe the country more than $70 billion as the government has preferred instead to implement more pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions.