Greece: Journalist Kostas Vaxevanis arrested, over the notorious “Lagarde list” leak

Earlier this morning, Greek Police raided the house where the journalist Kostas Vaxevanis was residing, after he deliberately tweeted his location. A few hours later he was released while he is set to appear in court tomorrow.

Vaxevanis became known via his TV broadcast, Pandora’s box, where he revealed big scandals between Greek MPs and Church officials, criticizing, also, racism and police repression. In his weekly magazine, HOT DOC, published a list (the notorious “Lagarde list”), which contains 2,059 names of wealthy Greek citizens who are, possibly, responsible for tax evasion (business people, journalists, doctors, lawyers, and media notables), as they have declared income that does not justify the amount of money in their HSBC Swiss accounts.

A few hours after the publication, Athens prosecutors issued a warrant against Vaxevanis, who, in order to escape, moved temporarily to a friend’s house. According to New York Times:

Hot Doc said its version of the list matches the one that Christine Lagarde, then the French finance minister and now the head of the International Monetary Fund, had given her Greek counterpart in 2010 to help Greece crack down on rampant tax evasion as it was trying to steady its economy. The 2,059 people on the list are said to have had accounts in a Geneva branch of HSBC. […] The publication of the list is likely to exacerbate Greeks’ anger that their political leaders might have been reluctant to investigate the business elite, with whom they often have close ties, even as middle- and lower-class Greeks have struggled with higher taxes and increasingly ardent tax collectors.

The New York Times, also, reported that Vaxevanis was aware of his impending arrest.

The journalist has been accused for “violating privacy legislation”. Nonetheless, the news of his arrest have sparked massive reactions among ordinary Greek citizens who demand social justice, end of corruption and political impunity. Also, a petition page has been created in favour of dropping all charges against Vaxevanis, stating the following:

We call on the Greek authorities to cease all interference with press freedom and focus instead on holding accountable those who have enabled massive tax evasion by the prominent politically connected elite.

Hitherto, more than 12,000 signatures have already been amassed.

In the video above, Vaxevanis talks to “Pandora’s Box Show” just a few hours before being arrested.

Meanwhile, Greek people continue to struggle against the harsh economic depression as a result of IMF imposed austerity, and the attempts of the EU-backed regime to suspend basic democratic rights. (See also: MUTE, the visualization of an economic rape by Roarmag).

In Al Jazeera, Vaxevanis stated that he had not committed any wrongdoing. and accused authorities of trying to muzzle the Press. He also added the following:

The important thing is that a group of people – when Greece is starving – make a profit and try to create the Greece they want. […] Tomorrow in parliament they will vote to cut 100-200 from the Greek civil servant, the Greek worker while at the same time most of the 2,000 people on the list appear to be evading tax by secretly sending money to Switzerland.

The Italian La Republica assumed that instead of examining this “mysterious list” and identify those who evade taxes, secretly pulling their money in Swiss Bank Accounts, the Greek authorities were mobilized to arrest Vaxevanis who is doing exactly what the state should have done for years now.

The arrest of Vaxevanis is a further proof that the Greek government is seeking, by any means, to silence voices that challenge the rotten political establishment, while, at the same time, neo-Nazi groups and supporters of the fascist Golden Dawn party that have participated in numerous murderous attacks against immigrants and political opponents, remain unpunished.

A few weeks ago, fifteen anti-fascist protesters were arrested in Athens during a clash with supporters of the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn. The incident became widely known by an article published on the Guardian. Their lawyer reports that they were tortured during their custody. A few days later, the forensic surgeon confirmed that physical violence was used against them. (See also: Golden Dawn party infiltrates Greece’s police, claims senior officer – video by Aris Chatzistefanou).

Today, also, was the anniversary of the Ohi Day, where in every city parades take place to commemorate the rejection of the ultimatum made by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini on October 28, 1940. Like last year, national parades were seen as a chance to protest against the regime.

In the picture below high school students in Keratsini, Athens parade wearing the antinazi symbol.

In the video below, protesters in the city of Thessaloniki confront police brutality and repression.

Αναρτήθηκε στις: 28/10/2012