I Took Action on 'Lagarde List': Former Greek Finance Minister

Former Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou on Friday refuted a media report claiming he did not instruct financial police to pursue possible tax evaders named on a list of Greeks with Swiss bank accounts he received in 2010.

I Took Action on 'Lagarde List': Former Greek Finance Minister
Louisa Gouliamaki

The report in the Financial Times cited legal experts as saying that Papaconstantinou, as well as his successor Evangelos Venizelos, could face charges of criminal negligence if the parliament referred them for trial.

In a letter to the Financial Times, which was also published on his personal blog, Papaconstantinou said the article "refers inaccurately to the facts as well as to the actions that I took during my tenure as Finance Minister regarding the use of the so-called 'Lagarde list'."

The list was sent to Papaconstantinou by Christine Lagarde, who was France's finance minister at the time.

According to the former finance minister, the list was provided on the understanding that the information "would be used in tax investigations unofficially and in a confidential way."

"First of all, you completely fail to mention the fact that it was at my personal initiative that the Greek government actively sought out this information; I was the one to ask for the list and it was handed over from French authorities in late 2010," Papaconstantinou said.

"You then go on to say that I 'did not instruct Greek financial police to carry out a full investigation'. This is completely untrue. I did so, not once, but on a number of occasions."

He also refuted a claim that he had said the list was later "mislaid".

"And how could the information have been "mislaid" as you claim, when I handed it over to the competent authorities, and of course it has since leaked and the names been published?," Papaconstantinou said.