EnetEnglish.gr, 11:26 Monday 13 January 2014
Former finance minister Papaconstantinou to stand trial over Lagarde list
Judges rule that the statute of limitations for the alleged offences has not expired
Former Pasok finance minister George Papaconstantinou faces charges of dereliction of duty, doctoring a document as well as breach of faith over allegedly removing the names of three of his relatives from the Lagarde list of suspected Greeks with undeclared cash deposits in a Swiss branch of HSBC bank
Meeting on Sunday, the five-member judicial council of a special court called to look into the case agreed with the finding of a Supreme Court prosecutor that the statute of limitations related to the alleged offences has not expired.
As a former minister, Papaconstantinou would have avoided prosecution only for the May 2012 election produced a shortlived parliament. Under the law, ministers lose criminal liability if no action is taken against alleged offences during two consecutive sessions of parliament. But judges ruled that, as it sat for only 24 hours, the parliament formed after the May 2012 elections could not count as a normal session of the body.
A formal investigation will now start into two alleged felonies and one misdemeanour, arising from Papaconstantinou's handling handing of the so-called Lagarde list of over 2,000 suspected Greeks with undeclared cash deposits in a Swiss branch of HSBC bank.
He is accused of removing the names of three of his relatives who had savings at an HSBC bank branch in Geneva.
The former minister faces charges of dereliction of duty, doctoring a document as well as breach of faith.
Papaconstantinou had been given the list in late 2010 but did not make it public. When it was published, the names of three of his relatives were missing from it.
French authorities gave the list to the Greek government in 2010, on the understanding that the information would be used to fight tax evasion.
Appointed to George Papandreou's first cabinet in October 2009, Papaconstaninou finance minister when the decision was taken to request troika intervention in May 2010. He was then environment minister from June 2011 to May 2012.