Greek deaths sow panic over Swiss ‘fraud list’

Two men on a list of almost 2,000 Greek businessmen and politicians suspected of using Swiss bank accounts for fraudulent tax evasion have been found dead in the past week.

Greek deaths sow panic over Swiss 'fraud list'
Photo: Liana Bitoli

They were on a list of wealthy personalities that the Greek government has obtained, reportedly sowing panic among the elite of Athens.

The names were initially passed on to the Greeks two years ago by Christine Lagarde, now head of the International Monetary Fund, when she was French finance minister.

The so-called “Lagarde list” includes information about 22,000 wealthy European residents suspected of tax fraud on the basis of data stolen by Hervé Falciani from the Geneva branch of HSBC, which he gave to the French government.

The details of 1,991 wealthy Greeks went missing but were recently tracked down by Greece’s finance minister, Yannis Stournaras, who declared the issue as a priority, the Financial Times reported earlier this month.

Vlassis Kambouroglou, a Greek businessman in the defence industry, was found dead on Monday in a Jakarta, Indonesia hotel room.

Kambouroglou had been linked to a bribery and money-laundering network involving former Greek defence minister Akis Tsochatzopopoulos, jailed for stealing up to $1.29 billion from defence contracts, according to Greek Reporter, an English-language website.

Kambouroglou’s death came after LeonidasTzanis, a former Greek minister under investigation for financial wrongdoing, was found dead in his home on Friday.

Both deaths are being treated as suspected suicides.

A report on the cases by the Business Insider website, which cites various sources, suggests the Greek government is taking action on the Largarde list after previous politicians had failed to do so.

Greece’s financial crimes unit, using information from the list, last week arrested Yiannis Sbokos, a former Greek minister, for suspected financial corruption.

Questions are now being raised as to why previous government ministers did not act on the Lagarde list earlier.

Given the connection with Swiss bank accounts and banking data theft, Switzerland's media have been closely following the Greek developments.

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