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Greece's growing tax scandal

Friday, Jan 18, 2013 - 02:07

Jan.18 - Greece's parliament votes to probe former Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou for his role in a scandal over a list of potential tax evaders that has rattled the fragile ruling coalition. Ciara Sutton reports.

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Greece has been out of the spotlight in recent weeks but a new political scandal is rattling the fragile coalition government. At the eye of the storm is a list of names given to the Greek government in 2010 by then French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde. It contains the names of over 2000 Greeks who held Swiss bank accounts and may not have paid tax on all their income. George Papaconstantinou was Finance Minister at the time and three members of his family were removed from the list. Greece's parliament has now voted to investigate his involvement. Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. (SOUNDBITE)(English) GREEK PRIME MINISTER ANTONIS SAMARAS SAYING: "This vote again shows the seriousness we are dedicating to doing these things, to the laws that we are passing and the future laws that we will be passing, in June, a big law for the tax reform. It's a necessary step forward." But not everyone will face the music. The current Socialist chief Evangelos Venizelos escaped as did former prime ministers Lucas Papademos and George Papandreou. That angered the opposition Syriza Party. (SOUNDBITE)(Greek) SENIOR SYRIZA PARTY MEMBER DIMITRIS PAPADIMOULIS SAYING: "For all the emphasis to fall only on the tampering of the list and only on a finished politician is a scandal in itself. A change in Greece would be if an active politician was investigated for possible criminal responsibilities. That's what happenes in other European countries, but unfortunately not yet in Greece." Tax evasion is a major problem in Greece - it contributed to its debt crisis. And revelations that the list was misplaced, locked away, copied and tampered with have further tainted a political system many still consider corrupt. (SOUNDBITE)(Greek) PENSIONER VASSILIS, 81, SAYING: "Every inquiry over the past thirty-five years has ended with them acquitting each other. We know how it works." (SOUNDBITE)(Greek) TEACHER MARTHA DELLI, 58, SAYING: "All those who have dipped their finger in the honey jar must be punished or leave." The vote comes just days after Greece's next bailout installment was finally approved. That averted bankruptcy - but many in Greece are now wondering if moral bankruptcy at the top should be tackled too.

Greece's growing tax scandal

Friday, Jan 18, 2013 - 02:07

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