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A minister will go on trial for the "Lagarde list"

13 January 2014 / 13:01:21  GRReporter
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The criminal acts of which former Minister of Finance George Papakonstantinou is accused are not statute-barred as was unanimously decided, according to sources, by the judicial council of the Supreme Court on Sunday.

The judges considered that the two consecutive election races in 2012 had not led to limitation violations of the law on the part of ​​the minister in the PASOK and George Papandreou’s government since the parliament elected on 8 May had sat for only one day.

The judges have thus opened the way for the start of the interrogation in connection with the "Lagarde list" and for the appearance of Papakonstantinou before the special court. The charges against him involve falsification of documents and fraud during the performance of official duties to the degree of felony and exceeding his rights to the degree of criminal offence. According to the indictment, he had falsified the "Lagarde list" by deleting from it the names of his two cousins ​​and their spouses.

The first publications of the existence of a list of Greeks with large deposits in a Swiss bank had appeared in the autumn of 2012. Papakonstantinou’s colleague in the French cabinet at the time and currently head of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde, had requested the list from him and it was therefore named after her.

In his testimony to the parliamentary commission on institutions and transparency, Papakonstantinou said that after reviewing the list, he had submitted 20 of the names on it to former director of the office combating financial crimes Yiannis Kapeleris and ordered him to investigate whether the data were correct. Moreover, in June 2011, shortly before leaving office in the financial department, Papakonstantinou had submitted the whole list to new director of the office combating financial crimes Ioannis Diotis to investigate it. It is worth noting that in September 2012 present Minister of Finance Yiannis Stournaras said in an interview for a major Greek newspaper that the "Lagarde list" was not at the Ministry.

In December of the same year, the Greek judicial authorities had sent the list to France to compare the data on it. The check had established some differences, in particular that the names of George Papakonstantinou’s relatives were missing from the Greek "version" of the list. Immediately after the revelations, the former minister had been disaffiliated from PASOK by order of party leader Evangelos Venizelos.

Papakonstantinou however continued to insist that he had made no changes to the list. A year ago, the parliament formed a commission to investigate the case. It completed its work with a report that asked the plenum to send the case to court. A large parliamentary majority took the decision on 16 July 2013.

Following yesterday's decision of the judges of the Supreme Court a trial against the former minister is about to be launched.

Tags: Crime newsPoliticsLagarde listGeorge PapakonstantinouSupreme CourtTrial
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