Is there a Lagarde behind the Lagarde List?The Lagarde List is named after the French Finance Minister, Christine Lagarde. As part of an investigation into French tax evaders, the details of the Greeks with Swiss accounts came into her hands and she then passed them on to her Greek counterpart, Giorgos Papaconstantinou. Ms. Lagarde is also Chief of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), one of the organizations comprising the "Troika" which has been guiding Greece's bailout.
The History of the Lagarde ListThe Lagarde List is a document which declares the names of 2062 Greeks, many of them prominent members of society, who have Swiss bank accounts at HSBC Swiss, containing a substantial amount of money. The reason this list is controversial is that it seems to support the belief that, in some cases, that these individuals may not have properly filed and paid their taxes owed in Greece, depriving the government of money and thus making the Greek financial crisis worse. The total of the accounts - not the potential taxes owed - is believed to be in excess of one billion euro.
The list, when initially released, was expected to expose those individuals to greater scrutiny and an active attempt on the part of the government of Greece to retrieve unpaid taxes. For whatever reason, many feel that this goal seems to not have been vigorously pursued. In addition, it is believed that the list which was released may have been edited prior to release by then-finance minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou. A committee was established in January 2013 to investigate this allegation and to determine who should be included on the list.
Greece's Watergate?Not unlike the scandal that rocked the Nixon administration in the United States, when perhaps damning sections of Oval Office recording tapes were "accidentally" erased by a secretary making transcripts, the Lagarde List has a similar situation. EKathimerini notes that the former chief of Greece's Financial Crimes Squad, Yiannis Diotis, claims that a woman lawyer was assisting him to copy a memory stick provided by Papaconstantinou and that by mistake, a small part of the list containing only a few names was erased during the process. This is meant to explain why the list that was released may be "incomplete". The missing names are reportedly only of individuals related to Papaconstantinou, fueling speculation that the erasure was not accidental.
As of this writing in January 2013, the story is still unfolding on the impact of the Lagarde List and its attendant scandal.
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