ATHENS – Fired financial prosecutor Spyros Mouzakitis, who had handled a probe into the so-called Lagarde List of wealthy Greeks, said the government interfered with the investigation.
Mouzakitis, in an interview with the Proto Thema newspaper, said he was threatened constantly with disciplinary action if he went after the rich and those who were evading taxes. He didn’t say who delivered the warning nor why they weren’t prosecuted for obstruction of justice.
The Lagarde List contained the names of 2,062 Greeks with 1.5 billion euros in secret Swiss bank accounts. A probe into tax cheating has dragged on but uncovered a number of affluent people hiding money without paying taxes.
Mouzakitis and his former partner Grigoris Peponis were replaced without notice by the coalition government of Prime Minister and New Democracy Conservative leader Antonis Samaras. That was before the head of a financial probes office also said he was blocked from going after the politically-connected.
Mouzakitis was threatened anew after making his charges. Justice Ministry General Secretary Giorgos Sourlas said he has asked Minister Haris Athanasiou if prosecutors should have the right to practice law when they resign, particularly if they are defending “economic crimes against the state.”
Mouzakitis has undertaken the defense of former Golden Dawn deputy Stathis Boukouras and ex-Aspis insurance firm chief Pavlos Psomiadis, currently in prison for fraud.
While workers, pensioners and the poor have been targeted with big pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and worker firings during a crushing economic crisis, the rich and politicians have largely escaped sacrifice and evaded taxes with few consequences.