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June 10, 2013

Greek journalist faces retrial after publishing ‘tax dodger’ list

By Ellie Chambers

A Greek journalist could be jailed after he published a list of suspected tax dodgers

Kostas Vaxevanis, who edits Hot Doc magazine, faces a retrial in October on charges of breaking privacy laws, having been acquitted at a Tribunal in Athens last November.

That verdict was later overturned by the public prosecutor’s office and Vaxevanis is now facing a charge of criminal breach of faith, an offence which carries a jail sentence.

A  hearing had been due to commence this week but has been postponed until October.

Speaking to the Guardian, Vaxevanis said: “It is tragic that instead of going after tax evaders, it is me who is being put on trial.”

Vaxevanis was first arrested on the 28th October 2012 after publishing a list of 2,059 names of wealthy Greeks with deposits in Switzerland.

The list, which became known as ‘the Lagarde list’, was originally leaked by an employee of HSBC and was then passed to then French finance minister Christine Lagarde. Lagarde gave the list to her then Greek counterpart George Papaconstantinou, on the understanding that he would use it to crack down on tax evasion.

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Papaconstantinou is now the subject of a parliamentary inquiry into the handling of the dossier after being accused of removing three of his relatives from the list. Last week the Greek parliament voted to press for tougher charges against Papaconstantinou.

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