Ex-Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has admitted that a report by Kathimerini concerning his comments to investors about having explored a plan to create a parallel payment system while in office were accurate but he insists that he did not intend to take Greece out of the euro.
"The context of all this is that they want to present me as a rogue finance minister, and have me indicted for treason,” Varoufakis told the Daily Telegraph.
“It is all part of an attempt to annul the first five months of this government and put it in the dustbin of history," he said. "It totally distorts my purpose for wanting parallel liquidity. I have always been completely against dismantling the euro because we never know what dark forces that might unleash in Europe."
Kathimerini published extracts of the teleconference Varoufakis took part in earlier this month, in which he explained that he hired an IT expert to set up a parallel banking system based on IOUs. Varoufakis explained to investors that he authorized the unnamed man, a friend, to hack into the General Secretariat for Public Revenues’ website to obtain the information necessary to set up the shadow payment system.
"I always told Tsipras that it will not be plain sailing but this is the price you have to pay for liberty," Varoufakis told the Telegraph.
"But when the time came he realized that it was just too difficult. I don't know when he reached that decision. I only learned explicitly on the night of the referendum, and that is why I offered to resign."
New Democracy led calls from the opposition parties for the government to provide more information about Varoufakis’s revelations, as well as reports that ex-Energy Minister Panayiotis Lafazanis had been at the forefront of a plan to seize cash reserves at the National Mint if Greece was poised to leave the euro.
"The revelations that are coming out raise a major political, economic and moral issue for the government which need in-depth examination," the conservatives said in a statement.
"Is it true that a designated team in the finance ministry had undertaken work on a backup plan? Is it true they had planned to raid the National Mint and that they prepared for a parallel currency by hacking the tax registration numbers of the taxpayers?"
During the teleconference, Varoufakis also told his audience that German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble believes Greece has to leave the eurozone so the single currency can be strengthened. He told the Telegraph that he believes this could even lead to Greece and its lenders failing to agree the terms for a third bailout.
"Everybody knows the International Monetary Fund does not want to take part in a new program but Schauble is insisting that it does as a condition for new loans. I have a strong suspicion that there will be no deal on August 20," he said.
"Schauble will then say it is yet another failure. He is just stringing us along. He has not given up his plan to push Greece out of the euro."