NEWS

Ex-PM refuses to testify before Parl’t panel

Former Prime Minister George Papandreou turned down a second opportunity on Tuesday to appear before the panel of MPs investigating the handling of the Lagarde list of depositors and opted to submit written comments instead.

Papandreou was invited for a second time to clarify his role in how his government dealt with a list of more than 2,000 Greeks with deposits in the Geneva branch of HSBC after some MPs felt the written deposition he supplied last week left some questions unanswered.

However, Papandreou sent a second note to the committee, saying that he had nothing to add to his deposition, which contains “fully and clearly everything that I have to present to the committee in relation to the matter under investigation.”

In his written deposition last week Papandreou claimed he had no detailed knowledge of the contents of the list but had instructed officials to crack down on tax evasion. Papandreou said he had been informed in mid-2010 by then Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou about “the potential for acquiring data relating to the savings of Greeks abroad.”

A SYRIZA request for Papandreou to be called for a third time and a proposal from Golden Dawn and Independent Greeks for the ex-PM to be brought to the inquiry by force were rejected by the majority of MPs on the committee.

A Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) official, Evangelos Karamanos, told the panel that it would be fairly straightforward for authorities to discover the people involved in an Ireland-based mutual fund that is the largest depositor on the list with 550 million dollars. Papandreou’s mother, Margarita, has denied claims she is involved with the fund.