ATHENS, March 6 A Greek prosecutor charged three
former ministers on Wednesday for failing to declare the source
of their wealth, the latest high-profile politicians in legal
trouble as public anger rises at a political class widely seen
Among them is Yannos Papantoniou, a prominent Socialist
politician who was finance minister when Greece joined the euro
in 2001. He faces misdemeanour charges for failing to disclose
in 2008 that his wife had 2.2 million euros in deposits in a
Swiss HSBC account.
Former Public Order Minister George Voulgarakis, 53, was
also accused of hiding from the state that his wife had deposits
of 117,000 euros in a foreign bank account in 2007.
Papantoniou and Voulgarakis both denied the charges, which
stem from a probe into the so-called "Lagarde list" of potential
tax evaders published that sparked an outcry among Greeks angry
at a wealthy elite partly blamed for dragging the country to the
brink of bankruptcy.
Both told a parliamentary committee that looking into the
Lagarde list of about 2,000 wealthy Greeks with money stashed
abroad that the accounts belonged only to their wives.
Former Deputy Finance Minister Petros Doukas, a member of
the ruling conservative party, was also charged with felony
after the prosecutor refused to accept his explanation over the
disappearance of 1 million euros from his bank account in 2010,
court officials said.
Doukas, 60, has denied any wrondoing. He has said the money
was transferred to an investment account, which was declared in
his income statement.
Greek politicians are required under law to declare the
origin of their wealth after parliament toughened legislation in
2010 soon after its debt crisis erupted.
In the highest-profile conviction of a politician in
decades, a court sentenced former defence minister Akis
Tsohatzopoulos to eight years in prison on Monday for false
income statements in 2006-2009 and for failing to declare a
neo-classical mansion when he bought it in 2009, the court said.
Tsohatzopoulos has denied wrongdgoing and plans to appeal.
Greece's coalition government has played up cracking down on
high-level tax evasion and fraud as a top priority as it faces a
backlash from an austerity-hit public.