Costas Vaxevanis goes on trial for publishing names of Greeks with Swiss bank accounts
Greek journalist Costas Vaxevanis is due to go on trial in Athens for breach of privacy after publishing the names of 2,000 Greeks with Swiss bank accounts.
French authorities gave the names to their Greek counterparts two years ago, but documents were never investigated.
Costas Vaxevanis said that politicians should be prosecuted for keeping the names secret.
But Greek officials have said there is no proof that those on the list have broken the law.
Costas Vaxevanis says the list he published is the same one that was given by the then French finance minister Christine Lagarde to her Greek counterpart two years ago.
Greek officials say the list originally came from a former HSBC employee.
The names on the list are said to include politicians, businessmen and others, sparking fury among ordinary Greeks as they are hit by deep austerity measures.
The issue has revived claims that tax evasion remains rife in Greece, and that the authorities still are not serious about tackling it.
Costas Vaxevanis, 46, said he published the list in his magazine Hot Doc “because I’m a journalist and it’s our job to tell the truth to the people”.
“The three last governments have lied and have made a mockery of the Greek people with this list,” he said.
“They were obliged to pass it to parliament or to the justice system. They didn’t do it and they should be in prison for it.”
Costas Vaxevanis said he thought the government had not acted on the list because it included friends of ministers, businessmen and powerful publishers.
He also accused much of the Greek media of ignoring the story.
“The Greek press is muzzled,” he said.
“There is a closed system of power in Greece, wielded by the political elite, businessmen and journalists.”
“If I need to go to prison I will do,” he said.
“Not because I’m a hero, but to show the injustice of what is happening in Greece.”
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