Greek Former Finance Minister of George Papandreou’s PASOK administration between October 2009 and June 2011, Giorgos Papakonstantinou, was found guilty by an Athens Court earlier today of tampering with the so-called “Lagarde list” of potential tax evaders, in a case that sparked outrage among crisis-hit Greeks. He was cleared of felony charges.
The former high-profile political figure, who even faced 10 years to life imprisonment over the felony charges, was finally found guilty of doctoring a document, but reduced the count to a misdemeanor. The Greek Court, set up solely for the case, found him guilty of removing the names of three relatives from the “Lagarde list,” which included some 2,000 Greek citizens with offshore bank deposits. The court said there was not enough evidence to prove that his actions damaged the Greek state.
In his apology before the judges, Papakonstantinou declared “not guilty,” having always denied any wrongdoing. In his hearing on March 12, he also railed against current PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, both for his handling of the case and the fact that he did not defend him while, as he described, in other corruption cases he would do so in Parliament. Papakonstantinou stressed that he made no distortion and no interference on the list, characterizing the whole case as a setup. “I am being judged every day,” the former Minister said, explaining that populist attacks against him are an everyday phenomenon. “They are saying that the Minister who signed the Memorandum and cut salaries and pensions got hold of the list and did not collect money [from those in it],” he described. Regarding the investigation completed prior to the trial, he said that his relatives and close associates, who have been cleared of all charges, were brutally reviled.