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Wednesday 22 May 2013

"Sue Venizelos now!" by Kostas Vaxevanis

Re-posted and translated from Pandora's Box by @IrateGreek

Is there a prosecutor to do the obvious? Yes, I know, this sentence has been written and said thousands of times before, but I don't know what else I can write anymore. The Parliamentary Committee investigating the issue of the Lagarde list [1] has now officially received from the French authorities documents describing how the list arrived in Greece. This fully confirms HotDoc's findings: we wrote that the list arrived through official channels from France, together with official handover and delivery notes, in order for it to be used by the tax department. Everything we uncovered as journalists with information provided the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Greek Embassy in Paris has now been forwarded, officially, to Parliament.

Even those who have no sympathy whatsoever for the investigation committee (and there are many) now have to admit that the list was passed off as an unofficial document in order for it to be shelved. They might then have no choice but say that Papaconstantinou is guilty because he passed off the list as "fiscally useless". Papaconstantinou is obviously the protagonist, if not the instigator, of this scenario. But there's a wider cover-up here. 

And this is where the "is there a prosecutor" question fits, a question normally asked by old men in cafes but which I, too, have to ask today. The individuals in various services that handled the list participated actively in this attempt to present it as an unofficial document. The Greek ambassador in Paris, Mr. Chalastanis, told HotDoc that he essentially received the Minister's private correspondence, not an official list. He even told the Parliamentary Committee that he'd lost any supporting documents. Is there, therefore, a prosecutor to order a case against Mr. Chalastanis for dereliction of duty and for the lies he appears to have said? 

Is there a prosecutor to launch proceedings ex officio against Evangelos Venizelos, because for 7 months, during which he was not a government Minister, he held an official document and not an informal one as he claimed? Because he was covering up a document? 

All those who ensured that Venizelos was not indicted are now exposed. There is evidence that he handled an official document without utilizing it, a document which is likely proof of criminal activity. He "ruled" for himself that it was not official, without having the authority to do so. No prosecutor, no one else got to assess the material. But this latter point will be judged in the future, in, I'm sure, the worst possible way for Venizelos.

Let's stick to what emerges directly from the latest developments. Is there a prosecutor to indict Venizelos for covering up an official document (the Lagarde list) while he not a Minister? And it goes without saying that I'm addressing this question to those "sensitive" prosecutors who indicted me for publishing the list and then appealed against my acquittal. 

[1] Translator's note: The Lagarde list is a list of some 2000 Greeks who hold bank accounts in the Geneva branch of HSBC and some of whom at least are suspected of tax evasion. The list was received by the Greek authorities in 2010 but never utilized for investigation. Kostas Vaxevanis was arrested and taken to court for publishing the list in his magazine HotDoc in October 2012. His acquittal was challenged and he will be standing trial again on 10 June 2013.  

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