With the assistance of French banking codes, new analyses by the Greek department of Justice suggest very strongly that several of the names on the ‘Lagarde List’ of illegal untaxed Swiss bank accounts deposited sums received directly as bribes from German arms supplier Siemens. Athenian commentators are now asserting that Evangelos Venizelos is so involved in this scandal, he represents a bigger threat to the Samaras government’s survival than Alexis Tsipras.
Greek entrepreneurs Marios Katsikas, Panagiotis Voila, Sophocles Priniotakis D. Siafaka, Maria-Christina Makrodimou, and research and brokerage firm “Pegasus” head Rammos Athanasius have been fingered as depositing large sums into HSBC Zurich during October 2010, when the Siemens bribes to Greek officials are known to have been rife. In turn, there are alleged to be 17 instances of traceable organized crime money laundering, involving a total loss to the Greek exchequer of around €2 billion.
Sophocles Priniotakis in particular was widely accused during the Siemens scandal. The cypher through to the Swiss accounts looks as if it may have been the Bank of Greece (an institution itself that has been the subject of much criminal speculation).
The Siemens bribery case was closed in August 2011, when the Athens parliament concluded that there was no reason for further investigation or referral. Venizelos played a major part in this closure, but it’s now beginning to look as if he didn’t cover his tracks well enough after all. German paper Süddeutsche Zeitung writes today that ‘The opposition is not the biggest threat to the government or the plans of the troika. If the government falls it will be because the government partner and president of PASOK Evangelos Venizelos is a factor of uncertainty. He refuses to clarify his role in the falsification scandal [concerning Lagarde’s List] of Swiss bank accounts. Former Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou is not willing to be the only black sheep who will go to jail…’
What Samaras fears now is that Papaconstantinou will ‘shop’ Evangalos Veryfatos. This would then drag crooked Germans back into the limelight….just as Angela Merkelopoulus is wrestling with a Cypriot bailout she may find it hard to sell to the Bundestag.
Lagarde’s List simply refuses to go away. Stay tuned.