NEWS

Venizelos questions content of HSBC list

PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos on Thursday told a parliamentary committee investigating the provenance and handling of a list of Greek depositors at a Swiss bank that he could not be certain that the version of the list he received during his stint as finance minister last year had not been tampered with, apparently casting aspersions against his predecessor Giorgos Papaconstantinou, the list?s original recipient.

?I don?t know whether Mr Diotis was given the original material or a copy, maybe he doesn?t even know what he received from Mr Papaconstantinou,? Venizelos said, referring to Yiannis Diotis, the former head of the Financial Crimes Unit (SDOE). He added however that he did not believe his predecessor had any reason to lie about the list which Papaconstantinou has admitted to receiving from former French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, who is currently the head of the International Monetary Fund, one of Greece?s three international creditors.

In his nearly six hours of testimony to Parliament?s institutions and transparency committee, the PASOK chief contradicted Diotis?s earlier testimony, insisting that he had given specific instructions to the then SDOE chief to investigate the material.

Venizelos said Diotis gave him the list on a memory stick, which he claims not have opened until last month when Greek authorities said the list had been lost, along with a few printed ?sample? pages which he could not account for. ?They might have gotten lost or been thrown in the trash,? he said.

The PASOK chief also referred to a recent telephone conversation with Papaconstantinou during which the latter allegedly said that the 10 account holders? names he had given to SDOE represented two-thirds of the 1.5 billion euros in total deposits.