EXCLUSIVE: Christine Lagarde, Evangelos Venizelos,Troika austerity aims, and German corruption

Berlin-am-Brussels’ real motives, and the odyssey of the Lagarde Tax-Dodgers List, are raising questions throughout the eurozone this afternoon. We could be about to witness the scandal of all scandals.

Christine Lagarde became head of the IMF in 2011. Before that – when she was the Minister of Finances for France – she illegally obtained a copy of 24,000 EU tax dodgers who’d deposited their ill-gotten gains at a branch of HSBC in Switzerland. The list, on a USB memory stick, was stolen from HSBC by a whistle-blowing employee.
Some time during the Autumn of 2010, France’s very poor answer to Carol Vorderman handed over the stick to Greek Finance Minister Papaconstantinou. It’s still unclear as to why she did this, but the chances are that she now regrets doing so. Either way, Papaconstantinou  handed it to the Financial Crimes Unit (SDOE). And when Evangelos Venizelos became Finance Minister the following year, SDOE in turn gave him a copy.
Yes, surprise surprise….wherever there is graft, there is Venizelos. Evangelos the Large did nothing at all about the list. He claims now that he did nothing “because it had been obtained illegally”. And if you believe that, then you’d believe anything Lord Mandelson might say.
However, for reasons which are also unclear, Mr Venizelos suddenly remembered his list yesterday morning….and handed it over to Prime Minister Samaras.
The response  of SDOE was almost immediate. Around 10.30 pm last night,  John Sbokos – ex  Secretary to the Directorate of Armament – was arrested by the Financial Crimes Unit. They did it in a hurry because somebody inside Pasok tipped Sbokos off about the handover, and SDOE in turn were tipped off that he was about to do a runner. Mr Sbokos was very close to Akis Tsohatzopoulos, the former Greek Defence Minister. He’s in prison because of his corrupt role in the ‘buy two subs just get one’ scandal.
This scandal in turn implicates a large number of movers and shakers in the German elite.
It is widely assumed that John Sbokos will now start singing like a Canary on X-Factor. But even before he does, the ripples from this rock Venizelos has chucked into the cesspool of Greek politics are spreading rapidly.  Within hours, former Transport Minister and prominent PASOK member Yiannis Ragousis announced his decision to quit in protest at the obvious truth that PASOK Leader Venizelos had been sitting on the list for two years. The list must by now be very crumpled.

In a statement Ragousis released today, the Minister said “While I have been obliged to agree to salary and pension cuts, these [people on the list] have evaded tax. Keeping their names secret is politically immoral, and shockingly unfair to society.”

There are 1,991 Greek names on the list. There are also 22,000 other EU bigwigs on it, and you can bet your sweet bippy their identity won’t be coming to light any time soon if the eurocrats cn help it. The Troika, it seemed today to Slog sources in Athens, weren’t keen to talk about what is now referred to in the media as The Lagarde List. Despite the fact that the list in total amounts to billions of lost euros in EU tax take, the Troikanauts remain focused on their one aim: to squeeze the ordinary ClubMed populace until their pips squeak.

The illogic of this policy couldn’t be clearer. New figures out of Spain show that tax income has dropped since the austere Triad took over. The FT calls them ‘shock’ figures. They must be the only people left on the planet who are surprised by the inevitable. Refusing to relent on demands that the Greek government push ahead with its €14 billion package of spending cuts and tax hikes, the Troika has told Athens that more can be saved in the areas of health, defence and local authority funding. I’m told the meeting at which they said this lasted all of 31 minutes; the assumption of most people in the know is that the atmosphere was frosty.

Yet the two sides do agree on one thing: they both foresee the economy contracting by 6.5% this year, and 3.8% in 2013….with unemployment set to rise further still. So the tax income will drop still further, and the spiral will continue – just as it is doing in Spain, Italy and Portugal. This from a senior media commentator in Italy:

“You sit them down and you say ‘this is the only possible outcome, surely this is mad?’ And they ignore the question and say the Accord must be delivered. Any question involving the words society, economy, extreme politics or financial ruin is simply ignored. These are the cuts and taxes we need, they say: deliver or die.”

To a very great extent, this is a result of the alarming success of the Merkeschäuble Cyclops strategy: “You are all blind and so we are in charge. Without the reliability of the euro being established once and for ever, there can be no European integration”.

The obvious riposte – “Without a change in policy, there will be no Southern Europe” – seems not to concern Berlin. And that makes their incessant whining about “using unfair German stereotypes” so hard to take: if they stick rigidly to the tank’s guidance system as it topples off the cliff, then people will spot the stereotype and use it.

But equally, the IMF and the ECB have minds of their own – especially Mario Draghi. He above all must know that the austerity approach will deliver nothing beyond scorched earth. He seems able to outflank the Germans on many levels, yet he does nothing to sabotage the bunglers from Berlin. Why?

In this rich soil, many a conspiracy theory can germinate and blossom. Are these theories really that whacknut? Or are they just the logical, informed speculation of those who simply can’t make sense of what seems to be happening on the surface? It gets hard at times not to see a hubris-fuelled Brussels and a controlling Berlin working in league with a quorum of Goldman Sachs bankers to reduce the average European to an obedient slave, no longer able to resist the drift from liberal democracy to fascist oligarchy.

If only a small fragment of that scenario is correct, then the Lagarde List gives the Troika in general – and Berlin-am-Brussels in particular – a major problem. I do not doubt that more arrests will follow in Athens over the next few days. An awful lot of grubby stuff about corrupt elites way beyond Greece’s borders is going to seep out – and the spotlight will once again be thrown onto the German hypocrisy and corruption in hard-selling €150bn of sumarines and other munitions to the Greeks…without which Athens wouldn’t have had a deficit crisis in the first place.

A number of medium and short-term riddles remain: Why is the austerity insanity ploughing ahead in the face of a Tsunami of contrary evidence? Why did Berlin in 2009 ask Papandreou to exaggerate the deficit problem? Why did Lagarde hand over the list originally? Why did Venizelos choose now to hand it over?

It’s yet another continuing saga of deception and distortion to which we should all stay tuned.

62 thoughts on “EXCLUSIVE: Christine Lagarde, Evangelos Venizelos,Troika austerity aims, and German corruption

  1. Oliver Stone has a ready made conspiracy theory script right here and now. You just could not make this up. I can’t wait for the following instalments!

  2. And the original whistle blower, do they have a copy of the stick perchance?
    It all might come out yet despite the desperation by Eurocrats to keep it a secret. I sincerely hope we all get to find out just who these people are.

  3. With no doubt Venizelos is the bigest scum on earth but dont go pass Papaconstantinou so easily .He got the list from Lagarde , he picked only few names from it , very few and gave them to the SDOE and vanish the rest .Two days ago on greek tv answering question to why he didnt give the whole CD with all the names and why he didn’t press ahead with investigations he answered : ” i knew that the SDOE is corrupt and will only result to them extorting money out of the big account owners with no gains for the state “.Draw your own conclusions .( excuse me, i have to go and throw up somewhere else and not on my keyboard).

      • Thanks Nick, watched the TV news tonight and Greek media certainly seems more anti-Benny than usual, and I suspect Papaconstaninou is for the chop too.

        John, good article as usual but I have to object to the mention of Carol Vorderman and Mr Chris Lagarde in the same sentence….. Greek readers, check google images for “carol vorderman”. Ok, maybe not as nice as some greek women over 50, but the best the UK can do.

    • Yana, is it possible that Venizelos picked out a few names, so the people could be made an example of; all with a view to bringing private pressure to bear on the rest of them? Blackmail for personal, party or political gain.

      Come to think of it, it is what I would have done. Are you not pleased I am not in charge?

  4. Reblogged this on Machholz's Blog and commented:
    An excellent account of the corruption hidden behind the immoral Austerity “final solution” coming from Berlin .I wonder if any Irish political movers and shakers are on that list or do we need to look for another list (exclusively Irish list that is)

  5. Good article John
    At least the very rich and the very poor are compatable, both do not pay tax. Then again the very poor only spend money, whilst the very rich at least create it. Unless of course they are Politicos and Burocrats.
    They work on the principle of, “do as i say, not as i do,” That is why we have laws against the Common Criminal, whilst pin striped criminals walk away free.

  6. Pingback: The unholy troika of austerity | Orphans of Liberty

  7. “These are the cuts and taxes we need, they say: deliver or die”

    “It gets hard at times not to see a hubris-fuelled Brussels and a controlling Berlin working in league with a quorum of Goldman Sachs bankers to reduce the average European to an obedient slave, no longer able to resist the drift from liberal democracy to fascist oligarchy”

    …100% correct I fear. That has been the plan all along.

    Part of the “New World Order” which the politicians keep telling us is coming where the Banks are the Gods. We are just their livestock and debt slaves.

    • “The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.”
      ― David Rockefeller, Memoirs

  8. In history Your enemy being your greatest asset is rear, particularly on this scale.but then those camp sites in Snowdonia had a purpose i suppose, maybe they were carry on camps

  9. “the drift from liberal democracy to fascist oligarchy”: on ne saurait mieux dire, cher Mr. Ward. Bravo pour votre chronique.

  10. I do wonder at this German corruption. It all seems to happen outside Germany for some strange reason.

    Are the Germans so corrupt as only to be corrupt outside Germany? Places like … Greece (where corruption is endemic) or China (where corruption is problematic).

    What on earth is going on?

  11. I do wonder at this German corruption. It all seems to happen outside Germany for some strange reason.

    Are the Germans so corrupt as only to be corrupt outside Germany? Places like … Greece (where corruption is endemic) or China (where corruption is problematic).

    What on earth is going on?

  12. Thanks for this article.It took ten minutes to sum up two days of reading and watching the news.One thought for Greek Sloggers to comment on. The average greek business plan is: openup shop, overprice products, cheat on VAT, offer poor aftersale service, steal your own firm, declare bankruptcy, catch an early flight to Geneva.As painful as it will be Greece needs deconstruction of its bollocks economy and business mentality, sooner rather than later.

  13. Tax evasion with secret accounts is an old and comfortable way to avoid taxes and other problems. There are too many with fingers in this pie so why open this can of worms??

    • why open this can of worms
      justice
      anyway all money will be deemed fraudulent soon.all currencies will be re-issued,all old money be fraudulent will be classed has worthless ,the
      masses purging the corrupt,all that toilet paper in the banks,wonder how Switzerland and the rest can print,their clients money in new currencies and survive

  14. A really good piece John. The slog is rapidly becoming the voice of resistence against the forces of corruption and deceit. Main stream reporting has become shallow, often simply wrong and ocassionally dishonest. Its a shame the masses aren’t yet reading the slog. I wish you good health and good fortune for many many years to come and thank you for the huge effort you put in.

  15. Pingback: THE ECB’S BALANCE SHEET: a licence to monetise debt? | A diary of deception and distortion

  16. Great piece John and wouldn’t it be nice if the memory stick odyssey DOES open up this can of worms.

    But…but…but it’s only one bank, lots of the accounts are legit, and meanwhile there have been TWO YEARS to shift hot money to safer off-shore destinations (didn’t Switzerland announce some years ago that numbered accounts were now against the law there? was I dreaming this?) – and anyone who didn’t do it must be brain-dead. In what retrospectively appears a public service warning, Evang. himself shook the supposed print-out at us on ERT TV two years ago, as he screeched about tax-evaders.

    (Available on the ERT files – a stand out occasion).

    Two years have passed and apart from a couple of society hairdressers, only ONE person from the Politician & Crony Brigade, ex-Min. of Defense Akis Tsohatzopoulos, is in custody at Kordialos prison – hung out to dry and Designated Scapegoat. He must have many green-eyed enemies….

    Meanwhile an even bigger fish has simply vanished from the scene – evaporated? dead? flying under the wire? – notably ex Min. of Public Works Laliotis – from the 90s up to the Olympics – and the ultimate byword in Greece for corruption.

    • @Eleni: Laliotis – ‘The Holy Child’? Wasn’t he involved in a libel suit which revolved around his alleged awarding of ‘gratuitous’ contracts to German companies whilst he was Minister of Environment?

      • Absolutement, one & the same!

        ….including awarding the new Athens Airport to Hochtief, whose local chief (and eventually CEO back in Germany) is now head of the Federation of German Industry, and chief advocate for pushing Greece into opening Special Economic Zones a la Chinoise, with 6 day weeks and 13 hour days. So german industry can shift their factories here & cut down transport costs.

        The plot thickens!

  17. Pingback: Troika Target Of Truculence As Greek Tax Evaders Terrified | Machholz's Blog

  18. The Slog is a much better site when you stop making excuses for the disgusting behavior of a piece of shit like Jimmy Savile and are not denigrating people of the muslim faith.

    P.S. I have never been guilty of statutory rape and I am agnostic.

  19. La Liste:
    If 1000s of the rich volunteered in France to re-patriate unpaid taxes, then using the list was a smart move on Lagarde’s part as Finance Minister, and can be counted a success. Passing on this list to Papakonstantinou doesn’t seem odd at all, but logical. It was the Greek government, after all, that was whining so loudly about tax evaders!

    Connecting the dots…it might explain her animus towards Greece and the Guardian interview about greeks paying their taxes.

    News reports from many viewpoints – IMF and participating countries’ MSM – reveal pressure building up inside the IMF against the EU. BRICS, Canada and Asian countries point out that the IMF is dangerously over-exposed to Europe in a program that it can’t control. They feel that the uber-rich EU should pull its finger out and take over the financial responsibility for its own mess, reducing or even better, eliminating the IMF’s participation. (And it is rather incredible that the EU and European power elites – ‘cults’ – expect the IMF to pick up a large part of the tab while they posture and play power games).

    Imagine if the IMF did this…..the s**t would really hit the fan.

    Poul Thomsen, the IMF’s man in Athens, is a hard nose. His main sticking point is that the government should start firings in the public sector. This was the subject of the 31 minute meeting on Monday.

    And actually – he’s right.

    The Greek government & cronies depend on this voting base of jobs-for-votes public service appointees. Without them they are dust.

    As for theories, Paul Craig Roberts said en passant in an interview last week: the Europeans are not focussed on solving what they call the ‘sovereign debt crisis’, they are focussed on using this crisis to break down the sovereignty of its constituent nations so as to create a European Empire.

  20. Pingback: John Ward – Exclusive: Christine Lagarde, Evangelos Venizelos, Troika Austerity Aims, And German Corruption – 4 October 2012 | Lucas 2012 Infos

  21. Pingback: Infowars Wexford | EXCLUSIVE: Christine Lagarde, Evangelos Venizelos,Troika austerity aims, and German corruption

  22. My guess is that the number of tax inspectors will be cut to the bone with the least experienced retained along with a few ‘team players’ and they will make a few high visibility, but insignificant, successes and stretch it out the scandal, ie the few insider trading cases that have been successfully prosecuted in US despite wide spread market abuse of a much more serious nature, a la ‘control fraud’ that Bill Black at UMKC so persistently and rightly campaigns about (UMKC seems to me an excellent centre for non-establishment views that slowly are being recognised, but I fear too late)

  23. IMF, yet another violation of our rights. The gov’t constantly violates our rights.
    They violate the 1st Amendment by caging protesters and banning books like “America Deceived II”.

    They violate the 4th and 5th Amendment by allowing TSA to grope you.

    They violate the entire Constitution by starting undeclared wars.

    Impeach Obama, support Ron Paul.

    Last link of “America Deceived II” before it is completely banned:

    http://www.amazon.com/America-Deceived-II-Possession-interrogation/dp/145025

  24. Pingback: LAGARDE’S LIST: The fallout continues as ex-interior minister Tzanis hangs himself | A diary of deception and distortion

  25. Pingback: John Ward – Lagarde’s List : The Fallout Continues As Ex-Interior Minster Tzanis Hangs Himself – 5 October 2012 | Lucas 2012 Infos

  26. Was this list ever published by the whistleblower? If not why bother taking the data in the first place. Would love to see that list and the names on it

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