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Witnesses in the "Lagarde List" case have been given another delay

09 January 2013 / 20:01:14  GRReporter
3501 reads

Victoria Mindova

The two former executives of the tax service in Greece (SDOE), Ioannis Kapeleris and Ioannis Diotis, were given another delay to testify in the case codenamed the "Lagarde List." The three main persons accused in it are relatives of former Finance Minister George Papakonstantinou, who are believed to have tried to conceal bank accounts of millions of euro in a Swiss bank.

On Wednesday, Papakonstantinou’s cousin, Eleni Papakonstantinou, appeared in the office of the prosecutor for financial affairs, George Peponis, to officially testify in connection with the allegations of abuse against the state, money laundering and tax fraud. The other two defendants in the same case - her husband Simeon Sikiardis and her sister's husband Andreas Rossonis - also appeared with her in the presence of their defender, George Stefanakis.

The interrogation of the defendants lasted three hours. They submitted a written testimony and gave further details to the prosecutors orally. Upon leaving the building, the defender of the Papakonstantinou family said, "This issue (the "Lagarde List") does not concern us. So far, there has been no evidence connected with the change to the list. The funds of my clients are completely legal."

Eleni Papakonstantinou’s explanations made it clear that she had submitted documents for the revenue to the investigative authorities. The account in the Swiss branch of HSBC contained 1.22 million dollars. Her sister Marina's husband, Andreas Rossonis, also insists that the money in his account is legitimate and that the account was opened about 15 years ago. In 2005, he took advantage of the tax amnesty announced by the Finance Minister at the time, George Alogoskoufis, and withdrew 750 thousand euro and 170 thousand dollars, which he brought back to Greece and paid taxes on said amounts. Now, the prosecution has to confirm the statements of the suspects.

Meanwhile, former Finance Minister George Papakonstantinou has to face a specially convened parliamentary commission. He will explain before it why the names of his three relatives are missing from the first version of the electronic list. Last December, the government received the names on the Lagarde List from Paris again. The checking showed that the details of the accounts of Eleni Papakonstantinou, Simeon Sikiardis and Andreas Rossonis were deleted from the first version of the list that Christine Lagarde - the former finance minister of France – had given to Papakonstantinou.

It is currently suspected that the minister himself or one of his assistants removed the names of his relatives from the list of wealthy Greeks with fat bank accounts in Switzerland so as not to discredit him. Papakonstantinou continues to uphold the version of his innocence. According to him, the political system wants to make him a scapegoat and he denies having made his hands dirty by changing this list. Now, he has to prove it. So far, his defence does not seem convincing as local observers say.

The former heads of the tax service Kapeleris and Diotis had to respond to the prosecutor as witnesses, not as suspects, but the developments in the investigation found them unprepared. On Monday, 14 January, they will have to provide explanations of how and in what way the list of the names of Greeks citizens with bank accounts in Switzerland ended up in their hands. They will also have to explain why the list had not been used and a tax inspection of the persons on the list had not been assigned provided that the list contained the names of possible tax offenders.


Tags: Crime newsPapakonstantinouLagarde ListGreeceCrisisTaxesFrauds
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