Greece’s former finance minister George Papaconstantinou won’t be able to avoid prosecution on charges he mishandled a list of 2,062 Greeks with $1.95 billion in secret Swiss bank accounts – an investigation found the names of three of his cousins had been erased.
A five-member Judicial Council ruled the case, in which he was indicted by Parliament, must proceed and set aside his argument that the statue of limitations had passed on the charges that include breach of trust, falsifying documents and breach of duty.
The case involves the so-called Lagarde List, named for former French finance chief Christine Lagarde – now head of one of Greece’s lenders, the International Monetary Fund. She gave it to him in 2010 and he said it disappeared.
A copy was produced by his successor, current PASOK Socialist chief Evangelos Venizelos, who is serving as Deputy Premier/Foreign Minister in the government of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, the New Democracy leader, who critics said shielded him from prosecution to protect the coalition.
Papaconstantinou, 52, served in the PASOK Administration of former premier George Papandreou, who similarly was exempted by Parliament of any wrongdoing.
Greek lawmakers decided in July last year that Papaconstantinou should be investigated, saying he damaged the image of the public treasury during his stint as finance minister.
The ex-minister, who has retired from politics, helped set up the indebted country’s first austerity program ordered by the Troika of the European Union-IMF-European Central Bank. He said he’s a political sacrifice by a government which wants to protect itself.
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