Photo: Wikimedia Commons
The controversial ‘Lagarde List’ has been leaked to the media in Greece.The list contains the names of 1,991 Greeks with bank accounts at HSBC’s Geneva branch, and it got its name after Christine Lagarde gave it to former Greek finance minister Giorgos Papakonstantinou in 2010.
The list has been kept secret by the Greek government ever since.
Lately, the question of whether or not the accounts have been used by wealthy Greeks to evade taxes while its country is in dire fiscal shape has generated a political firestorm.
A few names on the list could create problems for the current prime minister, Antonis Samaras, who is desperately trying to bring parliament together over a controversial package of spending cuts in order to secure the next disbursement of much-needed bailout cash from troika lenders.
One name on the list is Stavros Papastavros, an advisor to Samaras. Another is Georgios Voulgarakis, a former minister and a member of Samaras’ New Democracy political party
The list also contains the names of officials in the finance ministry, which has been at the centre of the crisis in Greece. The list went inexplicably missing for more than a year after outgoing finance minister Papakonstantinou passed it to incoming finance minister Evangelos Venizelos in 2011.
One wealthy Greek businessman in the defence industry and another former government official involved in defence deals who both recently turned up dead in alleged suicides were not included in the list.
However, the Greek magazine that published the list, Hot Doc, stressed that it couldn’t be sure whether the list had been edited before being given to the magazine.
A Daily Kos blogger cites local media in saying that the Greek government has already issued a warrant for the arrest of the publisher of Hot Doc:
While the official reason given by the Hellenic Police regarding the warrant issued against [Kostas] Vaxevanis is the violation of privacy laws relating to the personal information of the individuals on this list, the general opinion in Greece, particularly on the country’s active blogosphere and social media landscape, is that Greek authorities are attempting to silence Vaxevanis and to “punish” him for publishing the Lagarde list.
Notably, unofficial versions of the list have been circulating on the Internet in recent weeks, while yesterday evening, zougla.gr, a website run by journalist Makis Triantafillopoulos, published the list just hours before the special edition of Hot Doc containing the list reached newsstands. As of the time of this writing, no similar warrants have been issued against Triantafillopoulos, who in Greece is largely regarded as a politician with very close ties to the political ruling class, for publishing the list.
Scans of the magazine pages on which the full list of names is published can be viewed at zougla.gr.