Judicial council rules Papaconstantinou should be tried over Lagarde list

Former Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou is to face a special court after a council of judges ruled over the weekend that the charges leveled against him over his alleged tampering with the so-called Lagarde list of wealthy Greek savers have not expired under the statute of limitations.

The decision makes Papaconstantinou the first ex-minister to face a special court since 1989, when the so-called Koskotas scandal shook the then Socialist government. According to a document submitted in Parliament by Justice Minister Haris Athanasiou, 136 similar case files had been sent to the House since 2009 but only Papaconstantinou’s led to a special court. Athanasiou was responding to a question by leftist SYRIZA MP Zoe Constantopoulou, who claimed “dozens of cases” concerning minister accountability had been shelved.

Papaconstantinou is accused of removing the names of three relatives from a list of Swiss bank account-holders given to him in May 2010 by Christine Lagarde, the International Monetary Fund head who was then France’s finance minister.

Parliament voted last summer to indict Papaconstantinou on charges of breach of faith, violation of duty and doctoring a document.

Over the weekend, a judicial council ruled that he is not protected by the statue of limitations, which dictates that offenses allegedly committed by ex-ministers expire if two parliaments have sat since the offense. According to the panel, the parliament formed after the first of two successive elections in the spring of 2012 did not operate normally as it convened for just a day.