Greece's ex-finance minister faces probe over tax list

Agence France Presse

Posted at Jan 13 2014 07:19 AM | Updated as of Jan 13 2014 03:19 PM

ATHENS - Greece's former finance minister George Papaconstantinou must face an investigation for allegedly tampering with a confidential tax list in late 2010, a judicial council ruled on Sunday.

The five-member council decided that Papaconstantinou's case must go forward despite a statute-of-limitations rule that it should be thrown out after two consecutive sessions of parliament.

The former Socialist minister faces charges of breach of trust, falsifying documents and breach of duty.

Papaconstantinou, 52, is suspected of deleting the names of three of his relatives from a document listing some 2,000 Greek citizens with accounts at HSBC bank in Switzerland in order to undermine a probe into tax evasion.

It was originally leaked by an HSBC employee and passed to Papaconstantinou in 2010 by France's then finance minister Christine Lagarde, who now heads the International Monetary Fund.

Local media have dubbed the scandal the "Lagarde list" affair.

Greek lawmakers decided in July last year that Papaconstantinou should be investigated, saying he damaged the image of the public treasury during his stint as finance minister.

The ex-minister, who has retired from politics, helped set up the indebted country's first austerity programme and European Union-IMF bailout plan in 2010, and says that he is being used as a scapegoat.