NEWS

'Lagarde list' gets green light

Financial crime prosecutors Grigoris Peponis and Spyros Mouzakitis ruled Friday that there are no legal obstacles obstructing authorities from making use of a list of nearly 2,000 Greeks suspected of tax evasion as the document was given by former French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde to her Greek counterpart Giorgos Papaconstantinou in 2010 in an official capacity.

As soon as they received the so-called ?Lagarde list? -- a list of 1,991 Greeks with total deposits of 1.5 billion euros in a Geneva branch of HSBC -- the two prosecutors asked the Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) to investigate each of the depositors for suspected tax evasion and other financial crimes, Kathimerini understands. According to the document sent to SDOE by the two prosecutors, a separate charge sheet must be drawn up for each individual found to have committed a crime.

The prosecutors, who are conducting a preliminary investigation into the list, are expected to summon as witnesses political figures who handled the data, including former Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos and Papaconstantinou. Parliament has also requested a briefing on the list.

Meanwhile, SDOE chief Stelios Stasinopoulos briefed Supreme Court deputy prosecutor Nikolaos Pantelis on his agency?s investigation into corruption among politicians. Stasinopoulos is said to have denied the existence of an official list of 36 politicians leaked to the media last week without denying the fact that SDOE is investigating politicians. Responding to a letter from New Democracy MP Nikitas Kaklamanis, in which the ex-minister allegedly asked if his name was on the list, Stasinopoulos said there was no such document and that any presented as an official one was ?the product of criminal activity.?

Pantelis is to start examining the list on Monday and will ask SDOE to conduct a further investigation if it deems that the agency did not follow the right course in its probe, Kathimerini understands. The documents given to Pantelis from SDOE were classified as strictly confidential following the suicide on Thursday of former Deputy Interior Minister Leonidas Tzanis who was on a list of politicians leaked to the media last week.

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