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Ex-finance minister Papaconstantinou in spotlight over alleged changes to Lagarde list

Former Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou faces uncomfortable questions about his role in the alleged tampering of a list containing the names of some 2,000 Greeks with accounts at the Geneva branch of HSBC after it emerged that the original Lagarde list received by Greek authorities last week allegedly contains three extra names related to the ex-PASOK official.

Judicial sources suggested on Friday that the three extra names that appear on the latest version of the list, rather than the one provided to prosecutors by PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos in October, are linked to two bank accounts. One allegedly contains 1.2 million dollars. The details of the other account are not known as it has been closed.

The three account holders are allegedly relatives of Papaconstantinou.

The latest version of the list, which Greek officials picked up in Paris last week and was then examined by financial prosecutors Spyros Mouzakitis and Grigoris Peponis, was passed to the Supreme Court on Thursday.

The Lagarde list has created major political controversy over the last few months after it emerged that Papaconstantinou and his successor at the Finance Ministry, Venizelos, had failed to oversee a proper investigation of the list for possible tax evaders.

Ex-Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) chiefs Yiannis Kapeleris and Yiannis Diotis have also been questioned as part of parliamentary and judicial inquiries into the failure to probe the contents of the list.

Kapeleris and Diotis insist they were not given instructions to investigate the list, while Papaconstantinou and Venizelos have suggested that they were advised by SDOE that Greek authorities would find it impossible to recover money from any tax evaders on the list.

Appearing before MPs in October, Papaconstantinou admitted that he did not know what became of the original copy of the list after he left office in the summer of 2011.

Parliament is due to receive a copy of the Lagarde list on Friday.

ekathimerini.com , Friday December 28, 2012 (15:46)  
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