SYRIZA MPs want Lagarde to testify in connection with list probe

Two prominent MPs of leftist SYRIZA on Friday called for economic prosecutors to summon International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde to testify as an “essential witness” in connection with an ongoing investigation into a list of 2,062 Greeks with Swiss bank accounts which was given to Greek authorities by Lagarde in 2012 when she was France’s finance minister.

Claiming that their previous demands for Lagarde to be summoned for questioning had met with the “persistent refusal” of coalition MPs on a parliamentary committee set up to examine the Lagarde list investigation, Zoe Constantopoulou and Panayiotis Kouroublis said Lagarde’s testimony was crucial “for the unraveling of pending criminal cases.”

The demands by the two SYRIZA MPs follow claims by the leftists that authorities are dragging their feet on the Lagarde list probe. They also come after the IMF chief, in a recent interview with the Financial Times, claimed her comments on tax evasion in Greece had triggered death threats. The comments fueled speculation in the Greek media about the source of the threats and prompted SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras to claim he had received similar threats in 2012. But a spokesperson for Lagarde later clarified that she had been referring to threatening comments posted on Facebook.

In a related development, the general secretary of the Justice Ministry, Giorgos Sourlas, asked the Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) and Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras to determine whether the Lagarde list, and other lists being probed for possible tax evasion, include the names of people who took out loans for business purposes before transferring the money to foreign-based bank accounts.

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