Prosecutor obtains list of major depositors

A list containing the names of about 2,000 Greeks who had deposits totaling some 1.5 billion euros in a branch of HSBC in Geneva, Switzerland, was in the hands of financial prosecutor Grigoris Peponis on Tuesday after the data was forwarded by PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos.

Venizelos, an ex-finance minister, said he had the list on a memory stick, which he passed to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. The premier gave it to the Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE), which forwarded it to Peponis.

A stir was caused after Giorgos Papaconstantinou, who preceded Venizelos as finance minister, told the Financial Times that he had received a CD in 2010 containing the names of Greek depositors from his French counterpart at the time, Christine Lagarde. Papaconstantinou said that he passed the information to SDOE but suggested that the CD had gone missing since.

Venizelos said that he had presumed the data was in the hands of authorities but came forward with the memory stick when it was suggested that SDOE did not have the information. The PASOK leader cast doubt on whether the data could be used to launch action against suspected tax evaders as it had not been obtained legally.

Sources told Kathimerini that many of the accounts on the list were not active and many belonged to Greek businessmen based abroad, although a former New Democracy politician was also among the depositors.

Peponis will investigate why the contents of the list were not probed earlier, as well as whether the deposits were made legally.

Meanwhile, the former head of procurement at the Defense Ministry, Yiannis Sbokos, was arrested on Tuesday evening. Sbokos is one of several people accused of corruption alongside ex-Defense Minister Akis Tsochatzopoulos.

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