Venizelos hands list of Greeks with deposits in Swiss bank to government

A list of some 2,000 Greeks with large deposits in a Swiss bank was handed over to the government on Tuesday by Evangelos Venizelos, head of PASOK -- one of the three parties in the coalition government -- and former finance minister, who said that he had originally been given the list by the head of the Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE), Yiannis Diotis.

The list is thought to have been first compiled by French authorities in 2010 and submitted to then-Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou by his French counterpart Christine Lagarde, current head of the International Monetary Fund.

Papaconstantinou later claimed that he had passed the contentious CD over to SDOE, which at the time was headed by Yiannis Kapeleris, and that somewhere along the line the data went «missing."

Current Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras told the Financial Times on Sunday that he would make a ?priority? of tracking down the CD containing the names of about 2,000 Greeks who had deposited money in the Geneva branch of HSBC.

?I first learnt of its existence last week from the newspapers???.???.???.???but if SDOE can?t track it down, then we?ll ask our European partners for another copy,? Stournaras told the FT.

On Tuesday, Venizelos said that Diotis had informed him of the contents of the list in August 2011, but had expressed the opinion that the CD was presented to him «unofficially» by Papaconstantinou and that the data contained on it «do not constitute a record that was submitted by due legal process to my service and therefore cannot be subject to legal inquiry and certainly not to publication."

Venizelos on Tuesday also reiterated Diotis's concerns as to the legality of the list, and said that any questionable use of the data could jeopardize Greece's efforts to convince Swiss authorities to release the details of account holders in the country who are suspected to tax evasion or other financial crimes.

"Our main priority then as now is to strike a bilateral agreement between Greece and Switzerland to tax the deposits of Greeks in Switzerland along the same lines of similar agreements signed with Germany and the United Kingdom,» Venizelos said.

"I hope that the agreement will be completed soon and will benefit public revenues,» he added.