Venizelos blames predecessor, ex-SDOE chief over ‘Lagarde list’

PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos says he was not informed last year by his predecessor as finance minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou that he had been given a list containing the names of almost 2,000 Greeks with large deposits at the Geneva branch of HSBC.

Venizelos has been heavily criticized for his role in the failure to investigate the list, which could include tax evaders, after the PASOK chief produced a memory stick containing the data after current Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said that the information had gone missing.

Papconstantinou insists that he gave the information to the head of the Financial Crimes Squad, Yiannis Diotis, in 2010. In an interview with NET TV, Venizelos criticized both men.

?I should have been less trusting of the state?s legal institutions,? he said. ?I showed too much faith in people that I thought could exercise their institutional responsibilities.?

Venizelos said that he was not informed about the list by Papaconstantinou when he took over at the Finance Ministry last year, despite the fact that his predecessor received the date from his French counterpart Christine Lagarde in 2010.

The current head of SDOE, Stelios Stasinopoulos and one of his predecessors, Spyros Kladas, are due to be questioned on Monday about the list by Parliament?s institutions and transparency committee.

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