Greek Editor Vaxevanis on Tax Scandal: 'Many Friends of Leading Politicians Are on the List'
Police arrested Kostas Vaxevanis at the end of October for publishing the names of hundreds of rich Greeks suspected of tax evasion, only to be released a short time later. He tells SPIEGEL that Greek politicians are complicit in the scam and seek to pass laws to retroactively legalize tax offenses.
Greek editor Kostas Vaxevanis: "A majority of Greeks are being squeezed by austerity measures while the elite are bunkering their money abroad."
SPIEGEL: Were you surprised when you were arrested for publishing a list of names of people suspected of evading taxes?
SPIEGEL: The public prosecutor has now asked parliament to investigate further to determine if politicians were guilty of failing to pursue tax evasion.
Vaxevanis: The only problem is that many friends of leading politicians are on the list. Everyone is connected with everyone.
SPIEGEL: What makes you so sure that this is indeed the so-called "Lagarde List," the collection of names of HSBC account holders that then-French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde handed to Greece in 2010?
SPIEGEL: Do you think that the lax approach to tax-code violations will now change?
Vaxevanis: Germany used the Lagarde List to go after tax evaders, as did France and Spain. But in Greece, the list simply disappeared. Why? Because everyone here is complicit: politicians, business leaders and journalists. Laws are passed here that retroactively legalize violations. Evangelos Venizelos, head of the socialist PASOK party, is an expert in the discipline. But nobody writes about it.
Interview by Julia Amalia Heyer
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