NEWS

Government braces for clash over list

The war of words between the coalition government and SYRIZA over the alleged doctoring of the Lagarde list of Greek depositors with Swiss bank accounts intensified on Wednesday, with government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou accusing the leftist opposition of “political opportunism” and SYRIZA officials suggesting that a parliamentary probe should not be restricted to former Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou.

The comments by Kedikoglou, who also accused SYRIZA of “trampling over the fundamentals of rule of law,” came amid rumors that the party’s proposal for the creation of a parliamentary committee would look to the indictment of socialist PASOK chief Evangelos Venizelos, who succeeded Papaconstantinou, as well as the latter. The leftists, who are expected to unveil their proposal tomorrow, are also expected to criticize current Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras. Questioned by reporters on Wednesday, Stournaras sought to play down the prospect of attempts to implicate him, noting that he had been the one who had arranged for Greek authorities to get another copy of the original Lagarde list. “In a democracy, everyone can do what they want,” he said. “If SYRIZA wants to put me on the spot, let it do so. I have no objections,” he added.

Earlier in the day, Eleni Papaconstantinou-Sikiaridis, a first cousin of Papaconstantinou and one of the three names removed from the original list given to Greek authorities in 2010 by the then French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde, tendered her resignation from the state privatization fund (TAIPED). A corporate lawyer, Papaconstantinou-Sikiaridis noted in her resignation letter that the money held at HSBC in Geneva is “the legal wealth of myself and my husband.” “The public references to my name are groundless and my career path is well-known,” she wrote, adding that she was resigning to avoid creating problems for TAIPED’s operation. Prosecutors are expected to summon Papaconstantinou’s three relatives to offer explanations regarding the source of their funds and whether or not they have been taxed. They are also expected to summon the former

secretaries of Papaconstantinou, to whom the ex-minister claims to have given the list once he received it from Lagarde.