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Another mystery with Greek depositors in a Liechtenstein bank

26 November 2012 / 21:11:57  GRReporter
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After the "Lagarde list" a new ghost is walking around Greece. Its name is the "Liechtenstein list" or the "Kimber list." This is another list of names of Greek nationals with deposits in a foreign bank. The list was compiled by an employee in the Liechtenstein bank LGT, Heinrich Kimber. It contains the names of 4,527 account holders, including Greek and German citizens.

This list’s whereabouts has been a mystery too, and since as long ago as 2008. Even more mysterious is the question of whether the Greek tax authorities use the data and whether politicians appear among the names.

In early 2009, the Finance Minister at that time, George Papakonstantinou, confirmed its existence. However, it has never been clear whether the account holders from Greece were summoned to provide information on the amounts deposited. All these are questions whose answers the members of SYRIZA and the Democratic Left seek by addressing parliamentary questions on the issue.

The story of the "Liechtenstein list" and its "strolling" across the planet are like a spy film scenario. All the details are present: involvement of secret services, providing secret amounts for its purchase, mysterious disappearances of account holders and above all, the fact that to date, no one has said anything about the names of Greeks in it. The only available information is the product of an investigation by members of SYRIZA, according to whom "the number of Greek depositors may have been small, but the amounts deposited in the particular bank are large. They could be larger than the deposits of Greek citizens in HSBC bank."

Uncertainty about how the Greek authorities have obtained the list

The mystery surrounding this issue became even greater after the statement by the Deputy Minister of Finance George Mavraganis according to whom the list was obtained "illegally" and that arrest warrants should be issued. On 26 March 2010, in response to the leader of the Democratic Left Fotis Kouvelis, George Papakonstantinou had admitted not only that he had the list but also added that the economic services were processing the data. He had also said that the Ministry of Finance "uses all data, regardless of their source."

The contradiction between the two politicians on how the list had reached the Greek government is obvious. Most recently, George Papakonstantinou had said that the "Liechtenstein list" could be used, because it had been obtained legally unlike the "Lagarde list."

How the Germans proceeded

Meanwhile, sources claim that the German secret service BND had bought between 2006 and 2007 the Heinrich Kimber’s CD against 4.2 million euro. Based on the data in it, Bochum prosecutors had immediately launched criminal persecution against prominent personalities in the society of the country who had failed to prove their investments. In parallel, a large number of Germans whose names appear on the list had visited the tax departments to arrange the payment of taxes. Thus, the German government treasury received 200 million euro.

Other similar lists followed, including one with the names of German citizens with accounts in banks in Luxembourg. At present, the country's authorities say they are ready to cooperate with any institution of another state that can provide information. They have expressed their willingness to cooperate in this process with the Greek finance ministry as well.

The German judiciary took measures too. In November 2010, a German court issued an order authorizing the use of such data in favour of the public interest and entitling the German authorities to buy such CDs. The court considered that the fight against tax evasion was in favour of the public interest and the use of such data was allowed only for the sake of its protection. Furthermore, the judicial council ruled that it was not the German authorities who had carried out the theft but the informant Heinrich Kimber, who was wanted by Interpol.

Greek financial control authorities are investigating 54 politicians

The 32 Greek politicians who came under the magnifying glass of the service combating financial crimes have become 54 in number but it does not necessarily mean that all of them did anything wrong. According to the To Vima newspaper, the investigation of one of the present Vice-Presidents of Parliament, namely Athanasios Nakos from New Democracy, ended without suspicion of illegal activity on his part.

In the case of a party leader, however, the situation is different: The investigators have requested to open his bank accounts. If there are any differences in the deposits and the declared amounts over the years or if he fails to prove these funds, the folder with the data collected will be sent for investigation by parliament.

After the first cleanup, the service has recently sent letters to 17 thousand Greeks who have accounts in foreign banks to submit documents on how they have obtained the money. In addition, a new team of 30 uniformed officers will also be formed to carry out inspections in the market. The group name will be "The incorruptible", and its members will have guns. According to the head of the service, the aim of its formation is "to show that the inspections for the payment of VAT and the issuance of receipts are being carried out."

Tags: PoliticsLiechtensteinListBank accountsAccount holdersLagarde listPoliticiansInvestigations
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