Papaconstantinou Tells BBC: “Clear Conscience”

Papaconstantinou_BBCFormer Greek Minister of Finance George Papaconstantinou, who has been charged with wrongdoing in the handling of a list of 2,062 Greeks with $1.95 billion in secret Swiss bank accounts that still hasn’t been checked for possible tax cheats, told the BBC in an interview that Greeks were looking for someone to blame for a crushing economic crisis.

“I have a clear conscience in terms of what I did as Finance Minister and I would think that most people who have a little bit of distance from the Greek story see quite clear that was necessary.”

As he explained during the interview, “I don’t think there will be a Finance Minister who will have reduced the deficit by 6 percentage points of GDP as I did during my tenure.” The former Finance Minister admitted that he is hated in Greece, but, as he said, “people need time to go over this extremely difficult situation where they blame everyone and especially the people who signed off.”

Talking about the so-called Lagarde List of Greeks with money in the HSBC branch in Geneva, he said: “I have a clear conscience of having tried to do what was necessary to exploit the information of the list and go after tax evasion, yes, I have a clear conscience on that, if you are asking me whether it could have been handled in a different way I would say yes, it could have.”

He was indicted by Parliament after it was found that the names of three of his relatives had been erased from the list. It’s not been determined who did it but he said he didn’t. The list was also in the hands of financial crimes squad investigators and another former finance minister, Evangelos Venizelos, the PASOK Socialist leader who is now Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister in the coalition government led by Prime Minister and New Democracy Conservative leader Antonis Samaras.

Echoing similar comments by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, he said Greece will likely need a third bailout or impose losses on its public investors, the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) the same way it did to private investors and Diaspora bondholders.

In another part of his interview, when asked about the initial reaction of German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the first rescue package of $152 billion to Greece three years ago, he said: “We needed a lot of time to convince Angela Merkel that there was no other way but the rescue. A series of countries – but chiefly Germany – believed that if Greece took more austerity measures, it would not need rescue, because the markets would be convinced and would continue lending.” Papaconstantinou said he knew from the beginning that was a fantasy.


  • THE_BIG_GUY

    “$1.95 billion in secret Swiss bank accounts that still hasn’t been checked for possible tax cheats.”

    WHY NOT!

    “The list was also in the hands of financial crimes squad investigators and another former finance minister, Evangelos Venizelos, the PASOK Socialist leader who is now Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister in the coalition government led by Prime Minister and New Democracy Conservative leader Antonis Samaras.”

    HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN!

    IT SEEMS I HAVE A LOT OF ASS-KICKING TO DO ON JUDGEMENT DAY!

    AND FOR GREECE THAT DAY IS COMING SOON!

    ALEX? SHUT UP!

  • Tonto

    It’s OK, BIG_GUY.

    Alex is realizing his own popularity now. He claims poor Tonto has no Greeks agree with him. Check out the statson this site as of 22/8/2013:

    Alex: 2232 rants 567 upvotes 25% supported
    Tonto 312 rants 272 upvotes 87% supported.

    So who loves us baby?

    Where I went to school anything below 50% spelled:
    Failure.

  • Tony Belluci

    Just looking at his face one can tell he is an egotistical prick. Actually with Greeks you can see their faces amd expressions to determine if they are honest people or not. As stupid as this may sound there.must be an explanation behind it and I wouldnt vote for anyone who looked like an ass.

  • twopenceworth

    I actually feel quite cruel baiting Alex. He seems very unstable. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sympathizing with his rants but I just feel that teasing an unstable guy is not a good thing. I suppose that’s being over sensitive (worrying like a mum about how teasing a bully can push them over the edge). Really his rants are just that. Rants. There is no discussion or reasoning with someone in that state. I think I’m going to just ignore it. Perhaps he’ll get bored and move away.

  • worldarts

    Why is this man still in a court trial for major FRAUD allowed to “run free” going in and out of Greece without question from the Authorities? What is this another PASOK and ND joke on the Greek People? he could easily escape to Urugay like the last Greek Banker did, while he’s awaiting to go to jail !! What a farce!!

  • worldarts

    BRAVO!!– well said Big Guy– PASOK & ND are a total DISGRACE & TRAITORS to Greece!

  • worldarts

    Problem is — look how this moron Alex has taken our attention away with the real issue about the on-going corruption in PASOK & ND, that MUST stop!

  • Tonto

    Yes, I totally agree. You can’t really argue with a sick mind. Yet as worldarts points out, his continual rants cloud the real issues. Can you imagine if all of us on here just had one constant topic we obsessed over–then insult and judge everyone out of bounds or “non-Greek” just becaus they dont support that one redundant issue. It would be madness. In the spirit for the good of all we need to point out to this individual just how obnoxious and reductive his comments are to the general flow of dialog.

    I don’t say he does not have the right to comment–but hearing from more of us just how unsavory his approach is to the others might wake him up to a more civilized and egalitarian participation.

    Seems even “God” (THE_BIG_GUY) has gotten his ire up about Alex’s dominant and overly-authoritative rants.

    Too funny.

  • twopenceworth

    You’re right. I have tried to (with anger, with humour, with reason) but I begin to think that with someone that unstable nothing could work except serious therapy. Has he gone quiet or have I just missed his latest rants? Perhaps he’s on holiday. 🙂

  • Tonto

    twopenceworth: 3 theories:
    a)holidays
    b)was finally admitted
    c) he is out on a killing rampage trying to find us

  • twopenceworth

    lol

  • twopenceworth

    yes, you’re right. I’m going to try and stop allowing him to do that.

    How do you think widespread corruption can be stopped?. It seems so out of control and ingrained.