Another Greek Myth: Freedom of the Press

30 October 2012

By  posted at Critical Legal Thinking

Op-ed on the arrest of Kostas Vaxevanis for publishing the names of Greeks with Swiss bank accounts

A war­rant for Greek journ­al­ist Kos­tas Vaxevanis’ arrest was issued today [Ed. 28 Octo­ber 2012] for the alleged crime of “viol­at­ing pri­vacy legis­la­tion” related to his bi-​weekly magazine HOT DOC which pub­lished a list of 2,059 names and asso­ci­ated pro­fes­sions of Greek nation­als from the cli­ent data­base of HSBC in Switzer­land. So, what does the Greek gov­ern­ment do? Arrest the tax evaders? No chance. Since the list of the tax evaders was given to the Greek gov­ern­ment over two years ago by French Fin­ance Min­is­ter Lagarde, suc­cess­ive Greek gov­ern­ments under Pasok and the New Demo­cracy led coali­tion have failed to arrest a single known tax evader, not one!

Yet today [Ed. 28 Octo­ber 2012], the Greek gov­ern­ment arres­ted journ­al­ist Kos­tas Vaxevanis for pub­lish­ing the tax evader list known to exist by the entire world. The list includes — among oth­ers — well known busi­ness people, journ­al­ists, doc­tors, law­yers, and media fig­ures many of who have declared income that does not jus­tify the amount of money in their HSBCaccounts. To add insult to injury, youth unem­ploy­ment in Greece stands at 54%, aver­age over­all unem­ploy­ment at 25%, and with massive social dis­lo­ca­tion promp­ted by the forced aus­ter­ity meas­ures imposed by the EU, the ECBand the IMF, you would think the Greek gov­ern­ment would go after the tax evaders to help pay off their massive debts or help stim­u­late jobs and show the Greek people that no one is above the law. No chance. The tax evaders, not the people of Greece, still pull the power strings in Greece… the world is watch­ing and yes, that includes the Greek Dia­spora.

George D. Pap­pas is the Exec­ut­ive Dir­ector & Attor­ney at the Inter­na­tional Cen­ter for Legal Stud­ies in Ashev­ille, North Carolina.

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