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George Papaconstantinou - outside PASOK

29 December 2012 / 16:12:03  GRReporter
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Following recent developments about the authentic Lagarde list, George Papaconstantinou was expelled from PASOK, although he denied having intervened in the content of the list. In a statement, 

the party stressed that, according to the prosecutor's investigation, "the list has been changed in terms of relatives of the former Minister of Finance, and this is very sad." "The obviously important question of George Papaconstantinou's responsibility is being raised, since it was he who acted in the worst possible way in this case, and he said he had lost the original disc only after two years," reads the statement adding that he does not belong to PASOK any more. PASOK wants to initiate parliamentary procedures which will clarify who should be held responsible. Moreover, the party insisted that inspirers of the slanderous campaign against PASOK and its Chairman, Evangelos Venizelos, who are mainly from SYRIZA, apologize. "We need to remind SYRIZA that this investigation was made possible thanks to the direct intervention of PASOK's Chairman, who provided authorities with an informal copy he had kept in his desk, while some people claimed to have lost the original disc, and others - that they did not keep the list in the archives of the competent authority. We should also reiterate, since some people seem to paradoxically forget it, that this copy comes from the Office to investigate economic crimes, which informed PASOK's Chairman and the then Minister of Finance, two months after the delivery of the materials to the Office," added PASOK. It was also noted that the issue regarding sources who declared to Parliament and justice that they do not have the list, but, at the same time, submitted it for publication in a particular media with the enthusiastic support of SYRIZA, is still pending.

Former Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou reacted strongly to his exclusion from PASOK. He regretted that PASOK's Chairman was quick to cast the blame on him for an eventual change in the Lagarde list. "If the list was actually changed, and even more so, with the removal of the names of my relatives, justice will need to investigate immediately who had a motive to make such a gross change so that I would be accused," Papaconstantinou said. He also stressed that an answer should be given to the question as to why investigation on the names on the list stopped, which he himself claimed at the time he left the Ministry of Finance.

According to SYRIZA, Papaconstantinou's exclusion does not obliterate Evangelos Venizelos' and PASOK's guilt for their attempts to hide the Lagarde list. It is incomprehensible that those who are responsible for this list are trying to get free from guilt.

The Government agrees with the proposal of the President of the Democratic Left, Fotis Kouvelis, for a preliminary investigation of the former Minister of Finance, as Simos Kedikoglou announced. Earlier, Kouvelis had said that people should be held criminally liable for the deletion of names of George Papaconstantinou's relatives from the list. According to him, public interest has been harmed.



Meanwhile, Parliament received the file submitted by the Ministry of Justice on the Lagarde list. It contains a CD with a copy of the authentic list requested by the Greek Minister of Finance, as well as documents regarding people who were not included in the first list which was initially sent to Parliament.

In addition, there are six documents from the TAXIS system regarding the same people, handover protocols proving that the list was delivered by the French Ministry of Finance, and two witness statements by committee members of the Greek Ministry of Finance, which received the disc with the list from France on 20 December. These include statements of financial prosecutors Grigoris Peponis and Spiros Mouzakitis about the comparison of the first list with the one sent from France. Following the comparison of the two CDs, it was discovered that the only difference between them was the removal of two bank accounts - one to the amount of 1,222,000 dollars and the second was closed. These accounts were associated with the names of four people who are relatives of former Minister of Finance George Papaconstantinou. Parties were immediately notified and, according to parliamentary statutes, they have full access to the file.

In an interview for Vima FM Radio, Deputy Speaker of Parliament Leonidas Grigorakos talked about specific individuals associated with the Lagarde list. "I'm talking about the circle of Ragousis, Papaconstantinou and everyone else, who had the list in their hands but did nothing," said Grigorakos, adding that these people could not put the blame on PASOK and Venizelos. According to him, it was impossible that Prime Minister Papandreou did not know about this and it would be a shame if he was not informed. Grigorakos emphasised that Parliament should take a position on the matter, and justice should do its work. Asked whether the people involved must leave PASOK, he stressed that all involved should have already left.

Yiannis Ragousis responded immediately to Leonidas Grigorakos's statements by saying that this was a slander. He called Grigorakos "the closest collaborator" of Akis Tsohatzopoulos and Evangelos Venizelos and defined his claims as ridiculous and nonsense. Ragousis noted that the first time he and the majority of the council of ministers at that time were informed about the existence of the list was when Venizelos admitted that, in August 2011, he had decided without informing anyone, that he could not use it. Yiannis Ragousis warned that he would approach justice, if Grigorakos repeated his claims.

According to New Democracy, the fact, confirmed by the investigation, that the two lists are different, raises serious questions which need immediate and convincing answers, especially when bearing in mind that the hidden names were relatives of the politician who received the list. The party stressed that those who changed the contents of the list bear a heavy responsibility, and that the truth must come out.

SYRIZA will explore all legal options to prosecute those involved. According to the party, changing the first Lagarde list leads to a huge political responsibility for the people who changed, hid and tried to depreciate it. The party said that these events clearly proved the corruption and controlled lawlessness of the party system of past decades served by PASOK and New Democracy. These two parties tried, in vain, to hide the political umbrella they have opened above people trying to bury the information from the list.

The Democratic Left insisted on publication of the full list, and stressed that the state should get what belongs to it, as well as the fact that those involved must immediately be held liable, both criminally and politically.

The proposal of Independent Greeks for the establishment of an inquiry commission on the list in order to punish those who illegally intervened in the case, was echoed by MP Notis Marias. In parallel, he required that the parties be given a copy of the list and transactions on these accounts, because, according to him, there is evidence that attempts to interfere lead to concealment of people who have acted illegally and are associated with political money. He recalled that Papaconstantinou's nomination for Minister in the government of Papadimou was supported by New Democracy and PASOK. In his Twitter account, Chairman of Independent Greeks Panos Kamenos said that Parliament refused to provide the requested information from the new list to the parties and thus concealment continues. He recalled to attention the fact that the first list was handed to Papaconstantinou by the French authorities, and he gave it to his deputy and current Chairman of PASOK, Evangelos Venizelos. In turn, he gave the list to the government in October.

The Communist Party said that the names and information from both lists should be published immediately, so that the people make sure what this is about. A thorough investigation and punishment of those involved is also called for.

On 21 December, after a question by SYRIZA MEP Nikos Houndis, EU Finance Commissioner Olli Rehn said that the Greek authorities should decide how to use the list according to Greek legislation. According to him, the European Commission has no right to make such a decision. Houndis asked Olli Rehn whether the Greek authorities may investigate this list, which was actually stolen. In addition, he insisted that the Commission inform him what data it had for the investigation of 1,700 people with abundant personal property. Rehn's answer made it clear that 871 of these 1,700 people were inspected. In 2011, 404 people were checked and 35.1 million euro were raised, and in the first 10 months of 2012, 467 people were inspected and 34.4 million euro were raised.

Tags: Lagarde list George Papaconstantinou Evangelos Venizelos PASOK
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