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November 2, 2012

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Papakonstantinou Sends Letter To Economist Refuting Reports on Lagarde List


Former finance minister George Papakostantinou, who is accused of mishandling the controversial Lagarde List, sent a letter to the "Economist" a few hours ago refuting media reports that claim he did not instruct financial police to pursue possible tax evaders named on a list of Greeks with Swiss bank accounts he received in 2010. The letter below, is from his website http://www.gpapak.gr/featured/epistoli-ston-economist/
Sir
In your article “A national sport no more” you correctly state that as Finance Minister I was the one who actually requested the so-called “Lagarde list” of Greek accounts in a Swiss bank, and handed over the biggest 20 (making up about half of total deposits) to the Greek financial police. They did turn out to be suspected tax evaders, as you mention. But it is completely untrue that I “never pursued the matter”. I did exactly the opposite, giving clear instructions to that effect. I repeated these upon handing the full information with all names to the new head of financial police (which he confirmed in a hearing in parliament). I left the Ministry in a cabinet reshuffle shortly thereafter. The information was therefore never “mislaid” by me as you claim (and of course it has since leaked and the names published). It was however clearly not properly investigated.
The discussion on the handling of the “Lagarde list” also obscures the fact that it was during my tenure that Greece finally started to seriously crack down on tax evasion, introducing jail terms for tax offenders, seizing of property, an economic crimes prosecutor, dedicated tax courts, and a complete lifting of banking secrecy. These actions faced significant opposition at the time and all opposition parties, including by Mr. Samaras’ New Democracy voted against them in parliament. It is however the changes instituted then that have since led to high-profile people being jailed for tax offences – a first for Greece.

Sincerely
George Papakonstantinou
Athens
Find out more about the controversial Lagarde List by clicking on one of the following links.
  1. Peponis Sends "Lagarde List" To Parliament (VIDEOS)
  2. Greek Journalist Arrested For Publishing Controversial "Lagarde List"
  3. Lagarde List A La "Imia": Greek Secret Services Found It - Venizelos & Papakostantinou Buried It!
  4. LAGARDE LIST: Justice Closes In On Evangelos The Large!
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