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Vaxevanis' Lagarde List Trial Delayed

vaxevanis_court_390A second trial for Greek investigative journalist Kostas Vaxevanis, who was cleared last year of breaching privacy rights but is being prosecuted again on the same charge because the prosecution was unhappy he was acquitted, has been postponed to Oct. 8.
The delay was set on June 10 when the trial was due to begin but set back when two of his three defense lawyers and two witnesses couldn’t appear, according to citizens’ journalism network Radio Bubble, which observed proceedings.
There is little media coverage in Greece of the case which has drawn international attention and led to Vaxevanis winning  the first International Journalism Award Julio Anguita Parado “for his courageous and independent struggle against the corruption at the heart of Europe.
”My trial has been postponed,” Vaxevanis wrote on Twitter. “Initially, the insisted on putting me on trial without my lawyers. Unprecedented things are happening in the justice system.” He had written European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso to draw his attention to the case, arguing that it had serious implications for press freedom in Greece.
Vaxevanis published the names of 2,062 Greeks with $1.95 billion in secret Swiss bank accounts but was acquitted of violating privacy laws. There is no double jeopardy law in Greece and prosecutors were unhappy he was quickly cleared although he pointed out the so-called Lagarde List, named for former French finance minister Christine Lagarde, who gave it to Greek authorities, still hasn’t been checked for tax cheats.
Nor has Lagarde, now head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF,) one of Greece’s international lenders, been prosecuted for releasing it although it came from a larger CD stolen from the Geneva branch of HSBC by a former employee.
Critics have accused Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ government, which was embarrassed by its failure to check the list for possible tax evaders, of censorship and trying to muzzle the press and opponents. Greece ranks low in freedom of the press in international surveys.
“It is tragic that instead of going after tax evaders, it is me who is being put on trial when an official investigation has already proved that the list was utterly mishandled,” he told the Guardian.
Indeed, the Greek Parliament is investigating former finance minister George Papaconstantinou after it was found that the names of three his his relatives were erased, and he’s also being charged with breach of duty. He has denied all wrongdoing.
Papaconstantinou’s successor as finance minister Evangelos Venizelos also had the list and failed to check it but was exempted from investigation. He is head of the PASOK Socialists, one of Samaras’ coalition partners and critics said is being protected.
“None of this would have come out had we not published the names,” Vaxevanis said. The public prosecutor invalidated the court’s ruling declaring it wrong because he had been acquitted.

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