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Greece investigating tax list tampering

Dec. 29, 2012 at 10:49 AM

ATHENS, Greece, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- Greek authorities said they are looking into whether a former finance minister removed relatives from an official list of Greeks with Swiss bank accounts.

French authorities provided a Greek financial crimes squad Friday with the so-called Lagarde list of Greek people who have bank accounts in Switzerland. The investigation is part of an effort to crack down on widespread tax evasion, The New York Times reported.

The list of 2,062 names includes those of three people who were not on the list former Greek Financial Minister George Papaconstantinou was using in an investigation -- his cousin, her husband and the spouse of another cousin. Papaconstantinou received his list in 2010 from his French counterpart at the time, Christine Lagarde.

Prosecutors have not made explicit accusations, but have launched an inquiry to determine whether Papaconstantinou is responsible for altering the document.

The former minister denies any wrongdoing and said he would not be made a "sacrificial lamb" in the investigation.

"If the list has been doctored, justice must immediately investigate who had the motive to doctor it so heavy-handedly with the aim of incriminating me," he said.

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