Kostas Vaxevanis should not face criminal charges for
doing his job, the European Federation of Journalists(EFJ) said today.
After an inquiry by the Prosecutor of the Misdemeanor
Court of Athens on Saturday 27 October, the police was seeking Greek
investigative journalist Kostas Vaxevanis for publishing on HOT DOC magazine
the "Lagarde List" consisting in 2059 names of Greek citizens with
deposits in the Swiss HSBC bank. Mr Vaxevanis was briefly detained by the
police the following day and he is now facing trial on 1st November for
publishing the "Lagarde List" thus "violating privacy law".
"We clearly think that the publication of a list
already shown in public in 2010 by Ms Lagarde when she was still French
Minister of Finance is only a matter of providing information to the public. Mr
Vaxevanis was doing his job of a journalist working for the public good, not
only in relation to the list itself but also in relation to the lack of
reaction of the authorities to carry out inquiries about potential large-scale
Dimitris Trimis, the President of the EFJ/IFJ affiliate
JUADN, said "I consider absolutely hypocritical the Court's fastidious
inquiry against investigative journalism, in particular when evidence is
brought to public attention concerning matters investigated with no success for
months by Justice and politicians who blame each other for inefficiency. Press openness and transparency are the very soul of
Democracy and Justice!"
also points out that as Mr Vaxevanis is
brought to court, today one of the large dailies "TA NEA" also
published the "Lagarde list", fortunately
without any judicial prosecution up to now.
two and a half years ago Ms. Christine
Lagarde (French Minister of Finance at that time) gave to her Greek counterpart
Minister of Economy Mr. G. Papakonstantinou a CD, with the names of 2059 Greek
citizens having large bank accounts in Swiss Bank HSBC. The Greek press continuously referred to the
existence of the list. Mr. Evangelos Venizelos currently President of PASOK and
a successor of Mr. G. Papakonstantinou in the Ministry of Economy at the time,
admitted at a Parliamentary Committee hearing that he had a copy of the list in
his office. However the authorities always considered that it could not be used
"for reasons of violating privacy law".
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 00
The EFJ is the European group of the International Federation of Journalists
The EFJ represents over 300,000 journalists in 30 countries