29 October, 2012

Aiding and abetting

The interesting case of the Greek memory stick is raising its head again.

Several years ago, probably three, an employee of HSBC, the banking giant formerly known as Honkers and Shankers, put the names and account details of a large number of Greek residents on a memory stick and sent it to the IMF. The assumption is that the account holders were salting away money illegally.

Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF, came across the stick and gave it to the Greek finance minister Papakonstantinou, who put it in the drawer of his desk. His successor, Venizelos, reportedly found the stick and was told what it was. He did nothing about it, and nor did his successor, nor his successor, nor the present one Stourmaras (as you can imagine job security in this post is pretty minimal).

So a journalist got hold of the memory stick and published the details in a magazine called Hot Doc, and the Greek authorities immediately arrested....the journalist.

His name is Kostas Vaxevanis and he is still being held. None of the names on the list have been investigated, despite, or perhaps because, of the fact that among them are senior politicians and businessmen.

Things are getting worse and worse for the ordinary people of Greece (and by the way the same goes for Portugal) but the government never tries to pursue the evaded taxes of the rich and influential, such is the endemic level of corruption.

It must be obvious, even to the most Euro-mad German, that there is no point putting the money of their own, honest, taxpayers to shore up this corrupt system. After a while it becomes aiding and abetting the crime.

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