Greek powerbrokers quake at fear of exposure on ‘Lagarde list’ of tax evaders [National Post]

by Araminta Wordsworth

Nov 2, 2012

The editor of the magazine “Hot Doc” faced five years in jail for printing the names of 2,059 wealthy Greeks — businessmen, shipowners, politicians, even cabinet ministers — with accounts at HSBC’s bank in Switzerland. They may be tax evaders, they may not be: no one knows for sure because the Greek authorities haven’t lifted a finger to find out. Judges in Athens found him not guilty.

The case dates back two years, when Christine Lagarde, then French finance minister, now head of the International Monetary Fund, handed over the dossier — dubbed the “Lagarde list” — to her Greek counterpart.

No action was taken even though tax evasion is rampant in Greece. It’s estimated at more than €19-billion ($25-billion) a year, the equivalent of 27% of the country’s output…Meanwhile, ordinary Greeks are reduced to going though dumpsters to find enough to eat.

As an article on the website Deutsche Welle explains,

…People protest that it is unfair that the wealthy can afford to allegedly squirrel their money away in Swiss bank accounts, leaving the less wealthy to essentially foot the bill for their lifestyle; a lifestyle which for some includes million- and billion-[dollar] yachts to sail the Greek islands and beyond, several homes, luxury cars, designer dresses and jewellery.

At The Daily Telegraph, Damien McElroy and Anthee Carassava explain the Vaxevanis trial is part the Greek government’s attempts to muzzle all [sic] journalists. But it may be too late.

Sources close to the journalists facing official retribution claim the leaks so far represent the tip of the iceberg. Privately far more damaging information is circulating with allegations of bribes paid by a prominent international business to cabinet ministers. The arrests, sources said, were designed to prevent further disclosures
“They’ve lost the plot,” a source working with the affected journalists said. “People are being punished in order to censor future exposés that are already in the pipeline.”
Marilena Katsimi, 43, a morning television anchor who was suspended last week along with her colleague, Kostas Arvantis, [said,] “It’s clear that the government is in a state of panic. It is unable to handle the public’s growing quest for the truth.”

Writing in The Guardian, Kostas Vaxevanis is unrepentant.

A study of the Lagarde list is highly revealing. Publishers, businessmen, shipowners, the entire system of power is shown to have transferred money abroad. And this is information from only one bank. Meanwhile in Greece, people are going through dumpsters for food.
The crisis in Greece wasn’t caused by everyone. And not everyone is paying for the crisis. The exclusive, corrupt club of power tries to save itself by pretending to make efforts to save Greece. In reality, it is exacerbating Greece’s contradictions, while Greece is teetering on the edge of a cliff … In the country that, as we like to remind ourselves, gave birth to democracy, democracy has become a strange new breed. Those in charge make sure that the right to vote come across as democracy, while negating democracy in the way they abuse the rights voters give them. And justice remains in thrall to politics.

Full article link: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/11/02/cradle-of-democracy-exposed-as-a-bankrupt-totalitarian-state-in-thrall-to-elites/

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