Ex-SDOE chief not to appear before Lagarde list investigators due to ill health

Yiannis Diotis, the former chief of the Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) and a central figure in the investigation into the handling of a list of Greek depositors at a Swiss bank, will not be appearing before prosecutors on Tuesday.

Diotis, who cited ill health, will be sending a 10-page deposition in which he is expected, according to sources, to stress that he did not tamper with the list. Sources also say that he will demand a further forensic examination of the memory stick on which the data is stored.

Prosecutors are trying to determine who removed the names of three relatives of former Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou from a list of some 2,000 Greek depositors with accounts at HSBC in Geneva after it was submitted to Papaconstantinou by French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde in 2010.

Papaconstantinou claims that he never perused the so-called Lagarde list in detail and had handed it over to SDOE, headed by Diotis at the time, to be investigated for possible tax cheats.

Diotis is seen as a key figure in the investigation after a forensic examination of the USB stick containing a copy of the list of depositors, which had been given to prosecutors by PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, who succeeded Papaconstantinou as finance minister, revealed that the data had been transferred onto the device on July 8, 2011. At that time the flash drive is thought to have been in SDOE’s possession.

Diotis’s predecessor at SDOE, Yiannis Kapeleris, also failed to appear before prosecutors on Monday, defending himself instead with a deposition in which he claimed that he had never been given the USB stick on which the data from the original list was allegedly copied, but had been given a printout with a few names.