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Greeks want probe of tax scandal minister

Tuesday, January 1, 2013
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Greek MPs have called for a probe into former finance minister George Papaconstantinou's alleged role in scrubbing names from a list of accused tax dodgers, days after he was ejected from his party over the scandal.

Seventy-one MPs from Prime Minister Antonis Samaras's governing coalition proposed the parliamentary inquiry, which if voted through by the 300-seat legislature will investigate whether Papaconstantinou is guilty of "falsification" of an official document and "breach of duty".

The probe could lead to charges against Papaconstantinou, who helped draw up the debt-ridden nation's first austerity drive. The 51-year-old denies all wrongdoing in the tax affair, which he called a "conspiracy" on Sunday.

The ex-minister was booted from his socialist Pasok party on Friday after it was revealed that the names of four of his family members - two cousins and their husbands - had been deleted from the list of alleged tax dodgers.

Greek prosecutors are investigating some 2000 holders of HSBC bank accounts in Switzerland for suspected tax evasion, according to media reports.

Media have dubbed the case the "Lagarde list" affair, after International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde, who personally gave Papaconstantinou the list in 2010 when she was France's finance minister.

The list was originally leaked by an HSBC employee before being passed to Greece by Lagarde.

Authorities have claimed the list was illegally obtained and hence cannot be used in the battle against tax evasion, a chronic problem in the heavily indebted and recession-hit country.

But mounting anger against a new round of austerity cuts, imposed by Greece's international creditors, has put pressure on the government to act on the list.

20/12/2014 09:41Sydney, Australia. 20 December,2014
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