Greek lawmakers voted to set up a parliamentary committee to investigate allegations former Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou removed relatives’ names from a list of Greeks with bank deposits in Switzerland.
A total of 265 lawmakers in the 300-member chamber backed the proposal today, with six voting against and three only saying they were “present.” Creating the panel, proposed by the country’s three-party coalition government, required a majority approval.
The so-called Lagarde list is an electronic file of 2,062 people with deposits in a Swiss branch of HSBC Holdings Plc that was given to the government in 2010 by France’s then-finance minister, Christine Lagarde. Handling of the list has drawn criticism from opposition parties and lawmakers in Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’s coalition, which holds 163 seats in the chamber.
Three other people listed on two separate proposals as probe targets didn’t get enough votes to be added to the investigation. The main opposition Syriza party had proposed a probe of Pasok leader and coalition partner Evangelos Venizelos, while two smaller parties, Independent Greeks and nationalist Golden Dawn, had called for two former prime ministers, George Papandreou and Lucas Papademos, to be included.
“The last thing this country needs right now is procedures that will once again leave it exposed,” Papaconstantinou said in parliament yesterday. “I didn’t tamper with anything. Apart from the fact that such an act would go against my principles, it would be irrational and idiotic to do it in the way that is being presented,” he said in reference to just three relatives’ names being removed.
Papaconstantinou, who pushed through Greece’s first bailout by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund in 2010, denied reports on Dec. 28 that he had altered the list. Pasok expelled him on the same day.
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