Lagarde List Untouched Until Venizelos Got It



PASOK Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos.
PASOK Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos.

Greek financial prosecutors said there is no evidence that a CD list of 2,062 Greeks with $1.95 billion in secret deposits in a Swiss bank was tampered with during the time it was in the possession of former finance minister George Papaconstantinou.

Parliament approved an investigation into his handling of the file after it was discovered the names of three of his relatives had been removed from the original that was in the hands of former French finance minister Christine Lagarde, who gave it to him in 2010. He has vehemently denied doctoring the list.

The newspaper Kathimerini reported that the list had been opened but not tampered with before it was given to his successor as finance minister, now PASOK Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos in July 2011. Parliament rejected an inquiry of Venizelos, one of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ coalition government partners as critics said the Premier was trying to shield him.

The files on the flash drive given to Venizelos by the then chief of the Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE), Yiannis Diotis, had been copied on July 8, 2011, onto another memory device in full without any evidence of tampering, the prosecutors said in a report sent to a Parliamentary committee that is probing whether Papaconstantinou should face indictment for tampering with the list.

According to the prosecutors’ investigation, the files on memory stick were opened by four different users between September 30, 2010, and October 2, 2012 but it was not revealed who they were. Papaconstantinou said the list went missing after he got it and a number of copies are reportedly floating around.

If Papaconstantinou is cleared, it is likely no one will face further questioning on who removed the names of his relatives. Meanwhile, the list still hasn’t been vetted for possible evaders after being in the hands of Greek authorities for more than two years as the government imposes more pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions instead on workers, pensioners and the poor. Tax cheats owe Greece more than $70 billion.