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Greek editor stands trial over tax evader list

Costas Vaxevanis (R), a 46-year-old investigative journalist, speaks to a journalist during a break in his trial, at a court in Athens on Novemeber 1, 2012.

Tax evasion is one of the main reasons that Greece’s public finances are in a mess and the country is in danger of default, so the revelations of Costas Vaxevanis, a magazine editor on trial today for alledged breaking privacy laws, are embarrassing.

Vaxevanis published a list of 2,000 Greek politicians, businesspeople and others with Swiss Bank accounts. The list has a convoluted history. It came originally from a whistleblower who worked for HSBC; it wound up in the hands of the French government which passed it on to the Greek authorities two years ago -- but it was never investigated.

Vaxevanis told the BBC that he isn’t the one who should be on trial: “The three last governments have lied and have made a mockery of the Greek people with this list. They were obliged to pass it to parliament or to the justice system. They didn’t do it and they should be in prison for it.”

Vaxevanis could face up to five years in jail. His supporters say this is not just a case of  shooting the messsenger; it’s more like  using a big bazooka to silence him.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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