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Greece asks France to resend Lagarde list after journalist acquitted,

media Costas Vaxevanis before his trial Reuters/Yorgos Karahalis

A Greek court has acquitted Costas Vaxevanis, the journalist who printed the Lagarde list of prominent Greeks with Swiss bank accounts. Following charges that government failed to act on the list for two years, the current finance minister has asked to send the list again.

After a 12-hour hearing Judge Malia Volika declared Vaxevanis innocent of the breach of privacy charge that could have meant three years in jail, rejecting the prosecution’s objections.

The verdict was greeted with applause.

Dossier: Eurozone in crisis

During the trial the prosecution accused Vaxevanis of encouraging “cannibalism”.

"You have publicly ridiculed a series of people, you have delivered these people to a society that is thirsty for blood,” the prosecutor said. “The solution to the problems that the country is facing is not cannibalism."

"I did what all journalists would have done,” was Vaxevanis’s comment on leaving the courtroom.

Other journalists, trade unionists and MPs testified in favour of Vaxevanis, who published the list of 2,000 wealthy Greeks suspected of tax-dodging through Swiss bank accounts in his Hot Doc magazine.

Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras has asked France to send the list, which was first hadned over by then-finance minister Christine Lagarde two years ago, again.

On Thursday a special economic prosecutor asked parliament to investigate whether previous finance ministers had failed to act on the list, media reports said.

Socialist former finance minister Evangelos Venizelos told a parliament committee that he had ordered the finance ministry's tax police to investigate but the department's chief at the time denies the claim.

Ex-finance minister George Papaconstantinou, the first recipient of the data in 2010, says he does not know what had happened to the original version of the list, raising speculation that it could have been tampered with.

 

On Wednesday, police arrested journalist Spiros Karatzaferis after he claimed to have a list of finance ministry documents allegedly stolen by hackers from the state general accounting office.
 

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