Former Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos handed over the missing CD containing the names of almost 2,000 Greeks with large deposits in a Swiss bank, to Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Tuesday.
On Sunday Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras told the FT he would pursue the missing CD - or USB stick- as a priority. According to Ekathimerini the list was compiled by French authorities in 2010 and "submitted to then-Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou by his French counterpart Christine Lagarde, current head of the International Monetary Fund." Papaconstantinou then claimed he had handed the CD to the Financial Crimes Squad (SDOE) where it went missing.
Following Stournaras's pledge to locate the CD, Venizelos, now leader of PASOK and one of the three party heads of the current coalition government, located the missing data which is now back in the hands of the SDOE. Venizelos claims he did not act on the data while finance minister as he thought the information had been obtained illegally.
According to Keep Talking Greece HSBC data contained the name of 24,000 tax dodgers in various European countries, including 1,991 Greeks. Twenty Greeks were revealed to have deposits in excess of one billion euros. The CD was stolen by bank employee Herves Falciani, thus the claim it was obtained illegally. However, Christine Lagarde spread the information to other European countries who modified their laws to "legalize access and usage of stolen data." Greece simply mislaid the information which could implicate some high ranking politicians in tax evasion.
Greece's Troika of international lenders, the EU, ECB and IMF, are pressurising Greece to deal with tax evasion. The FT reported Greece has been criticized for "failing to crack down on widespread tax evasion, including money-laundering through offshore companies and transfers of capital by wealthy individuals to Switzerland and other international financial centres." The Greek press made much of "alleged scams carried out in the 2000s by politicians in collusion with businesspeople to avoid paying taxes and make money for themselves while failing to prevent Greece’s financial collapse" this weekend.
The Greek press has now labelled the CD the "Lagarde List."