The text below is an extract from this week’s issue of HOT DOC magazine featuring extensive report and commentary by editor Kostas Vaxevanis and his team, over the leaked “Lagarde List” published on Saturday in an extra edition.
In a nutshell
- · The 2,059 HSBC clients listed hold 2,846 accounts in total
- · Accounts make a total of €4,5 billion in deposits
- · 55% of the accounts showed no transactions during 2005, 2006 and the first 2 months of 2007, apparently when Herve Falciani stole HSBC data. In February 2007, 26% of the accounts were active whilst the rest remained inactive, closed, abandoned, blocked or without sufficient data.
- · Swiss banks allow their customers to open an account in their name or alternatively in a code number. This is convenient for those seeking funds from controversial sources – as evidence shows from Tsochatzopoulos scandal too. For example a probe can be funded from a well known source to a numbered bank account whose holder cannot be identified. Later on in case a minister is inquired amid investigation, he may claim that this does not refer to a bank account but…a telephone number.
- · 41% of “Lagarde List” accounts are opened in a name and the rest in a code preferably numerical in most cases.
- · Named/numbered, active/inactive accounts and their links with offshore companies are included in “Lagarde List”
- · 81 account holders define themselves as company managers, 24 as ship owners, 43 as lawyers, 3 as public servants, 4 as journalists, 4 as publishers, 2 as employees in Ministry of Finance, 2 as workers in tax offices, 44 as industrial manufacturers , 9 as businessmen among others.
- · Kostas Vaxevanis underlined it was vague from the very beginning if the document included the full list of accounts or it was amended while it was passed on from “one hand to another”.
- · “We did not publish any sensitive data”, writes Kostas Vaxevanis. “We published a list showing that each of these 2,059 people had made transactions (we don’t know their legal status) with a bank. This is not sensitive data but it would have been in case we released the deposits amount (…) "Lagarde List" is not a series of sensitive info but rather a document. HOT DOC had made clear that those included were HSBC bank account holders not necessarily criminals. The discretion does not lie upon journalism research and it shouldn't actually. Hints of “people’s incrimination” stem from the two ministers' attitude who allowed rumors to be spread instead of providing all evidence and conduct a research upon the matter in hand.”
- · Kostas Vaxevanis continues: "A while ago newspaper “Ta Nea” released a list of names from arts/entertainment industry along with data from their tax declaration form. Admittedly this is sensitive data but prosecutors remained inactive although those people proceeded to public complaints.