Thursday

30th Mar 2017

Greek parliament votes to probe ex-minister

  • Ex-finance minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou is to face a parliamentary investigation on tax evasion. (Photo: International Monetary Fund)

Deputies in the Greek parliament early Friday (18 January) voted to launch a parliamentary investigation into Greece’s former minister of finance Giorgos Papaconstantinou.

Papaconstantinou is one of several names to have emerged in the mishandling of a list that discloses the identities of some 2,000 powerful tax-evading Greeks who hid away €2 billion in Swiss bank accounts.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Others, like ex-prime ministers George Papandreou and Lucas Papademos and Papaconstantinou’s successor and current PASOK leader Evangelos Venizelos, escaped parliament’s scrutiny into the affair, reports Kathimerini.

Instead, some 265 MPs out of 300 voted to launch proceedings against Papaconstantinou who is accused of having deliberately removed the names of his relatives from the list - a charge he denies.

“Would I just remove the names of my three relatives in such a way that would immediately incriminate me?” he said following the vote.

Voting was initially scheduled to place at around 9 pm on Thursday evening but dragged on into the early morning hours on Friday.

Deliberations on who should be probed had started Thursday morning but disputes between lawmakers surfaced quickly.

The coalition government had proposed to vote to launch an inquiry only on Papaconstantinou. But SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras wanted Venizelos on the vote as well. Smaller party groups called for Papandreou and Papademos to be added.

In the end, the coalition won out over objections from Tsipras.

A preliminary judicial inquiry will now question Papaconstantinou’s handling of the list and determine if there is enough evidence to launch criminal proceedings.

The details of the Lagarde list emerged last October when Greek magazine Hot Doc published the names of the suspected tax evaders.

Among the political elite mentioned is Stavros Papastavros, an aide to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, and the wife of Georgios Voulgarakis, Samaras' former minister of culture and public order.

An HSBC employee in 2007 had initially compiled the data, which eventually made its way to the then French finance minister Christine Lagarde.

Lagarde then handed it over to the Greeks in 2010 when Papaconstantinou was the acting finance minister under George Papandreou.

Papaconstantinou now also stands accused for not having looked into the list at the time.

Commission stops German-British stock merger

The decision to block the merger of the London Stock Exchange and Deutsche Boerse was expected, as negotiations between the parties broke down a few weeks ago.

SMEs lack support in EU financial plan

The European Commission's plan for a capital markets union is said to be aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises, but many could end up being left out in the cold.

Eurozone chief in 'drinks and women' row

[Updated] The Netherlands' Jeroen Dijsselbloem faces calls for resignation after saying that crisis-hit countries in southern Europe spent "money on drinks and women" before being helped by others.

Stolen Russian billions ended up in EU states

Illicit money flowing out of Russia ended up in almost every single EU state, an investigation has found, posing questions on the integrity of Europe’s banking systems.

News in Brief

  1. UK delivered its Article 50 letter to the EU
  2. Support for Germany's anti-EU party fading
  3. Turkish intelligence not welcome in Germany
  4. US senate approves Montenegro’s Nato bid
  5. Scottish MPs give go ahead to seek referendum
  6. Uber pulls out of Denmark over new taxi-regulation
  7. EU court validates sanctions on Russia's Rosneft
  8. Luxembourg to team up with Ireland in Apple tax appeal

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The Idealist QuarterlyCan Progressive Stories Survive Our Post-Truth Era? After-Work Discussion on 6 April
  2. ACCAG20 Citizens Want 'Big Picture' Tax Policymaking, According to Global Survey
  3. Belgrade Security ForumCall for Papers: European Union as a Global Crisis Manager - Deadline 30 April
  4. European Gaming & Betting Association60 Years Rome Treaty – 60 Years Building an Internal Market
  5. Malta EU 2017New EU Rules to Prevent Terrorism and Give More Rights to Victims Approved
  6. European Jewish Congress"Extremists Still Have Ability and Motivation to Murder in Europe" Says EJC President
  7. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAudiovisual Media Services Directive to Exclude Minors from Gambling Ads
  8. ILGA-EuropeTime for a Reality Check on International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  9. UNICEFHuman Cost to Refugee and Migrant Children Mounts Up One Year After EU-Turkey Deal
  10. Malta EU 2017Council Adopts New Rules to Improve Safety of Medical Devices
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Research: How to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy
  12. Party of European SocialistsWe Must Renew Europe for All Europeans