Greece: operation underway to root out corruption

Politicians and large-scale tax evaders targeted by judiciary

04 January, 17:52

Former Greek Finance Minister Papaconstantinou allegedly involved in the manipulation of the so-called Lagarde List Former Greek Finance Minister Papaconstantinou allegedly involved in the manipulation of the so-called Lagarde List

(ANSAmed) - ATHENS - In his year-end address to the nation, Greece's prime minister Antonis Samaras spoke on the issue of corruption, saying that ''age-old impunity is about to end. Those expecting to continue in their old ways should keep in mind that from now on they will have to answer to the law and the justice system for it.'' And, at least to judge from the investigations underway, it seems that a sort of ''Operation Clean Hands'' has finally begun in Greece.

According to reports in today's economic daily Cosmos Tou Ependyti, after the initiating of an investigation against former socialist Finance Minister (for an alleged manipulation of the so-called Lagarde List, from which the names of some of his relatives are said to have disappeared), at least three other former ministers of the previous governments under Nea Dimokratia and Pasok will now be made to answer for similar irregularities, along with other Greek citizens that have taken large quantities of money abroad. The paper claims that the judiciary investigating financial crimes will soon be targeting two former ministers of Nea Dimokratia and one of Pasok involved in separate cases. However, the operation ''Clean Political Hands'', as the Greek press has called it, does not seem to be limited to three ministers or other politicians whose names have emerged in old scandals, or to large-scale tax evaders. The judiciary may soon - some sources say they have already - be looking closely into the affairs of 54,000 Greeks with foreign bank accounts who are suspected of tax evasion. This will also be the case as concerns Greek clients of some banks in Liechtenstein and in Luxembourg, as well as those who have bought real estate recently in London.

(ANSAmed).

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