At this current juncture, an incredibly difficult moment for the Greek economy, it would be wise to try to avoid giving the impression that a cover-up is in the works regarding all the people involved – without this proving their guilt – in the handling of the Lagarde list. After all, the direction that the investigation will take lies beyond the jurisdiction of the coalition government and the opposition, as the decision will ultimately have an impact on the prestige of the Greek Parliament.
There is no doubt that the whole affair was handled in an abysmal fashion. Information that should have been private and confidential was made public with the leak of the list of some 2,000 depositors, and that list itself was acquired illegally by an insider at HSBC. In other words, the information was put out there to be judged by the people’s court with no regard for whether the deposits at the Geneva bank were the product of legitimate business activities in Greece or abroad.
Essentially, it does not matter at all how many ballot boxes are set up in Parliament so MPs can vote on which politicians need to be investigated in connection to the list. The decision as to the number of people to be investigated will probably be decided by Democratic Left. The important part is for all of the MPs to cast their ballots for all the proposals, because otherwise it may seem that a cover-up is in fact in the works and this would be unfair primarily for the those who have been put forward to possibly face a preliminary inquiry.
It is clear that New Democracy is trying to make its MPs to toe the party line. But the issue is not about creating an image of unity in the government camp over an affair that is irrelevant to the general governance of the country.
Over the past four decades Greece’s political sphere has often been shaken by serious clashes between PASOK and New Democracy. The government of George Papandreou, for example, was unfair and even slanderous in its criticism of the administration of his predecessor, Costas Karamanlis.
The coexistence of these two traditional rivals in the current coalition is a matter of expediency that does not negate the deep rifts between the two. This contradiction cannot be solved with cheap tricks nor does the possible investigation of former Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos or of former premiers Papandreou and Lucas Papademos suggest their culpability. In any case, they will still be summoned to testify.
However, if instead of transparency we see ruses and attempts to sweep the affair under the carpet, SYRIZA, Independent Greeks and Golden Dawn will come out as the big winners.