Asset and Resource Hoarding

Greek magazine editor arrested on live radio for publishing the names of 2,000 wealthy ‘tax evaders’… all with Swiss bank accounts

  • Kostas Vaxevanis,  editor of Hot Docs, was giving a radio interview in Athens when officers stormed  into the studio saying he had to go ‘to be arrested’
  • Today, as he  appeared in court, Greek daily Ta Nea reprinted the list across ten of its pages  in possible act of defiance
  • Vaxevanis faces  up to two years in prison for what police say was the illegal publication of  personal details without proof of any law breaking
  • He says it  is not him being put on trial but ‘freedom of the press’
  • The list,  given to Greece by France in 2010, contains names of 2,059 Greek account holders at HSBC, Switzerland, to be probed for possible tax  evasion

By Matt Blake

PUBLISHED:09:11 EST, 29  October 2012| UPDATED:10:11 EST, 29 October 2012

A Greek magazine editor was arrested live on  national radio yesterday for publishing the names of 2,000 ‘tax evaders’ from  Greece’s business and political elite.

Kostas Vaxevanis was giving a radio interview  in Athens when officers stormed into the studio saying he had to cut the segment  short ‘to be arrested’.

Greek police swooped after his weekly journal  Hot Doc released the names, all of which are alleged to have employed complex  tax avoiding mechanisms through accounts with HSBC in  Switzerland.

But in a further twist today – the same day  Mr Vaxevanis was due to appear in court charged with violating data privacy laws – a separate publication, Ta Nea, reprinted  the list across ten of its pages.

Led away: Kostas Vaxevanis was giving a radio interview in Athens when officers stormed into the studio saying he had to cut the segment short 'to be arrested'

Led away: Kostas Vaxevanis was giving a radio interview  in Athens when officers stormed into the studio saying he had to cut the segment  short ‘to be arrested’

Vaxevanis faces up to two years in prison for  what police say was the illegal publication of personal details without proof  that any laws had actually been broken.

He immediately compared the officers to Nazi  stormtroopers before sending another message in which he wrote: They’re entering  my house with the prosecutor right now. They are arresting me, spread the  word.’

He and his supporters  claim a cover up by the Greek establishment which attempted to dampen  allegations it had the names for two years but did nothing about  them.

Show of support: Supporters applaud Mr Vaxevanis who likened his arresting officers to Nazi stormtroopersShow of support: Supporters applaud Mr Vaxevanis who  likened his arresting officers to Nazi stormtroopers
Vaxevanis speaks: The list, given to Greece by French authorities in 2010, contains the names of 2,059 Greek account holders at HSBC in Switzerland to be probed for possible tax evasionVaxevanis speaks: The list, given to Greece by French  authorities in 2010, contains the names of 2,059 Greek account holders at HSBC  in Switzerland to be probed for possible tax evasion

The list, given to Greece by French  authorities in 2010, contains the names of 2,059 Greek account holders  at HSBC  in Switzerland to be probed for possible tax evasion.

The accounts  are said  to hold some 2 billion euros until 2007, a sum that riveted  austerity-hit  Greeks, angry at the privileges of politicians and an  elite seen as having  enriched themselves at the country’s expense.

It has been dubbed the ‘Lagarde List’ after  Christine Lagarde, the head of the  International  Monetary Fund who was the French finance minister when the list  was  handed over.

Lagarde List: The list has been dubbed the 'Lagarde List' after Christine Lagarde, pictured, the head of the International Monetary Fund who was the French finance minister when the it was handed over to Greek authoritiesLagarde List: The list has been dubbed the ‘Lagarde  List’ after Christine Lagarde, pictured, the head of the International Monetary  Fund who was the French finance minister when the it was handed over to Greek  authorities

Centre-left daily Ta Nea said that despite  publishing the same list released by Hot Doc it was not leaping to any  conclusions about ‘its content nor the connotations it evokes in a large part of  the public.’

It did not say why it had decided to reprint  the list and stressed there was no evidence linking any one on the list to tax  evasion.

The magazine says the list, which  includes  well-known political and business figures, was sent to it  anonymously and  authorities have not confirmed if the list was  authentic.

Vaxevanis wrote on his Twitter account: ‘Ta Nea is publishing the list today.  Will they be prosecuted? A month ago it published a list of the tax returns of  celebrities. Charges weren’t filed.

‘Today, it’s not Hot Doc that’s on trial but  press freedom in Greece, and truth.’

It is the latest act of defiance against the  Greek establishment in a society that is becoming increasingly frustrated with  the government’s handling of a recession that has hit Greece harder than  most.

Athens has seen hundreds of  anti-austerity  protests – many violent – over the past three years,  since Greece revealed it  had been misreporting key deficit figures and  sank into an economic gloom so  deep it has been likened to the Great  Depression of the 1930s.

The most recent was just last week when  hundreds took to the streets to demonstrate against the government’s harsh  austerity programme during a planned general strike that crippled the nation’s  infrastructure.

The 24-hour shutdown closed  down public services, stopped all rail and ferry services and grounded  flights.

Wall of fire: Riot police are engulfed in flame by a petrol bomb thrown by protesters. Greek trade unions called a 24-hour general strike to oppose new austerity measures just last weekWall of fire: Riot police are engulfed in flame by a  petrol bomb thrown by protesters. Greek trade unions called a 24-hour general  strike to oppose new austerity measures just last week

Flare-up: Protesters throw petrol bombs against riot police in Athens today during a 24-hour general strike

Flare-up: Athens has seen hundreds of anti-austerity  protests – many violent – over the past three years, since Greece revealed it  had been misreporting key deficit figures and sank into an economic gloom so  deep it has been likened to the Great Depression of the 1930s

The country is clinging to solvency with the  help of two massive international bailouts worth a total 240billion  euros.

To secure them, it committed to drastic  spending cuts, tax hikes and  reforms, aimed to cure years of profligate  government spending.

But while significantly reducing budget  deficits, the measures accelerated a recession that after five years is closer  to a depression.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2224806/Kostas-Vaxevanis-editor-Greek-magazine-Hot-Docs-arrested-publishing-names-2-000-tax-evaders.html#ixzz2AjSMG4e0 Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook