The investigative journalist Costas Vaxevanis was arrested on Sunday and then quickly released after his magazine Hot Doc published on Saturday a list of more than 2,000 names that it claimed was the infamous «Lagarde list» of Greeks with Swiss bank accounts given to Greece by French authorities in 2010 to be probed for tax evasion.
The journalist is to appear in court at noon on Monday when the date of his trial, on charges of violating laws relating to the privacy of personal data, is to be set.
Vaxevanis, who was arrested on charges of violation of privacy, made several postings on his Twitter account before being taken in. «They’re entering my house with a prosecutor now, they’re arresting me. Spread the word.» He described the police surrounding the house of a friend where he was arrested, as «fascist militia.”
In an interview uploaded onto the Internet before his arrest, following the announcement that a warrant had been put out, he said he was being unfairly targeted. ?Instead of arresting the tax evaders and the ministers who had the list in their hands, they are trying to arrest the truth and freedom of the press,? he said.
Greek authorities did not confirm that the list printed on Saturday in Hot Doc was indeed the list of names given to former Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou by Christine Lagarde in the fall of 2010 when she was France?s finance minister.
Neither Papaconstantinou nor his successor Evangelos Venizelos, who forwarded the list to authorities earlier this month, have indicated that the list included the names of politicians.
But the Hot Doc list of 2,059 names includes at least three politicians, including two conservative former ministers, one of whom is deceased, and a current adviser to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras.
Former minister Giorgos Voulgarakis dismissed his inclusion on the list as ?disinformation? and ?mudslinging? and declared via his Twitter account, ?Neither my wife nor I have any offshore companies or foreign bank accounts.?