The chief of the Financial and Economic Crime Unit ( S.D.O.E.), Stelios Stasinopoulos, had a meeting on Tuesday morning with the Parliament’s ethics and transparency committee where he admitted that the investigation concerning the Lagarde List is moving at a slow pace. The Lagarde list contains names of Greeks who appear to have bank accounts at a HSBC bank in Geneva. The Greek people included in the list are suspects of possible tax violation. Mr. Stasinopoulos credits this delay on the need for the data to be refined. However, he claimed that despite the delay, progress has been made.
Christine Lagarde, the former French finance minister, delivered what became known as the Lagarde list to Greece ‘s authorities in 2010. About 1,700 names from the list of Greeks, who appear to have accounts at a branch of HSBC bank in Geneva, are under investigation by S.D.O.E.
Mr. Stasinopolous stated that the unit has compiled files for 266 of these individuals. Moreover, by the end of the month, 155 of them are expected to reach an agreement.
Mr. Stasinopoulos credited the delay on the fact that the list only contained names. As he mentioned, time was needed in order for the nature of the deposits and whether they were a result of tax evasion to be investigated. In order for S.D.O.E. to double-check the names with the tax authorities’ files could take months, stated Mr. Stasinopoulos.
“The control was impossible. There were processes that had to precede the investigations. Until recently, these processes were not even under S.D.O.E’s jurisdiction. We had to be able to compile all the data according to the individual’s tax identification numbers. It was the only way in which the data could be processed,” Mr. Stasinopoulos underlined.
“S.D.O.E’s inspectors had no prior experience in bank account probing. They attended a 30-day seminar over the summer. Thus, the investigation did not start until September,” he continued.
Moreover, the chief of S.D.O.E mentioned that the list includes “financially prominent individuals” who are currently under investigation. “We expect these individuals to challenge our findings. Thus, we have to make sure that they are cornered,” Mr. Stasinopoulos added.