Quotes: US MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Court acquits Greek journalist on trial for leaking bank data  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - AFP - 01/11/2012

No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!


 


(MENAFN - AFP) A Greek court on Thursday acquitted a journalist of breach of privacy in publishing a list of 2,000 Greeks allegedly with Swiss bank accounts, in a case that has exposed the government to charges of a cover-up.

Costas Vaxevanis, a 46-year-old veteran television journalist who now publishes a magazine, has insisted he was doing his job and accused ministers responsible for vetting the list for possible tax evasion of doing nothing for two years.

Vaxevanis, who was arrested on Sunday, was charged with breach of privacy and had faced a maximum three-year prison sentence if convicted.

Calling for his conviction, the prosecutor said: "You have publicly ridiculed a series of people, you have delivered these people to a society that is thirsty for blood."

"The solution to the problems that the country is facing is not cannibalism," added the prosecutor.

But after 12-hour hearing, the court acquitted Vaxevanis.

Judge Malia Volika declared the "innocence" of Vaxevanis, and rejected all objections from the prosecution.

The ruling was met with applause, while Vaxevanis told Volika: "I thank you very much Madam Judge."

While leaving the courtroom, the journalist said: "I did what all journalists would have done."

During the trial, Vaxevanis stressed that he was obliged to publish the list.

"It is my job to publish this list, even if my father were on the list, I would have published it," he said.

Among those on the list are prominent businessmen, shipowners, lawyers, doctors, journalists and a former minister, as well as companies, housewives and students although no deposit sums were published.

Several media workers also testified on behalf of Vaxevanis, including the head of the International Federation of Journalists, Jim Bumelha, who called the trial an "absurd farce".

"Colleagues from all over the world will be keeping an eye on this. If something happens to Costas, we will gather all of the forces that we have got, wherever we are, to campaign for his release," he told reporters ahead of the verdict.

The head of the Athens union of journalists, Dimitris Trimis, also took the stand.

"I would have done the same thing," Trimis told the court, according to excerpts posted on a blog run by Vaxevanis.

"A bank account is not personal data, we live in an era of transparency," Trimis said.

A radical leftist lawmaker whose father is on the journalist's legal team denounced the case as a "blow to democracy".

Amnesty International's deputy programme director for Europe and Central Asia, Marek Marczynski, said ahead of the ruling that it was "deeply troubling" that Vaxevanis is facing charges "for disclosing information in the public interest".

"This step increases the risk that other journalists will censor themselves and refrain from legitimate criticism of the government to avoid prosecution," he said.

-- State of hypocrisy --

Vaxevanis has accused the Greek state of hypocrisy and says the justice system is bowing to a corrupt political system.

"Our politicians declare themselves to be democrats. I see no evidence of this," he wrote in Britain's The Times newspaper on Thursday.

"I wonder if Greek justice will show that the law safeguards the public interest and freedom of speech... in journalism you must do what you think is right without worrying about the consequences," he wrote.

The journalist has also accused Greek media of burying the story.

Vaxevanis' "Hot Doc" magazine on Saturday published the names of more than 2,000 Greeks, allegedly from a controversial list of HSBC account holders that was originally leaked by a bank employee and passed to Greece in 2010 by France's then finance minister Christine Lagarde, who is now IMF chief.

Greek authorities took no action given that the list was considered stolen data that could not be used against potential tax evaders.

When the case resurfaced last month, it took several days for officials to even locate a copy of the so-called "Lagarde List".

The data has been the subject of intense discussion, with the government facing calls to use it to crack down on potential tax cheats as Greece grapples with a massive debt crisis.

On Thursday, a special economic prosecutor asked parliament to investigate whether previous finance ministers could be faulted for failing to take action on the list, media reports said.

Evangelos Venizelos, the leader of the socialist Pasok party and a former finance minister, told a parliament committee that he had ordered the finance ministry's tax police to investigate, a claim which the department's chief at the time denies.

Ex-finance minister George Papaconstantinou, the first recipient of the data in 2010, said he did not know what had happened to the original version of the list, raising speculation that it could have been tampered with.

Current finance chief Yannis Stournaras has asked France to re-send the list.

Vaxevanis says he got the information in an anonymous letter whose sender claimed to have received it from a politician.

On Wednesday, police arrested another journalist who claimed to have in his possession a list of finance ministry documents allegedly stolen by hackers from the state general accounting office.


 






  MENA News Headlines
Apr 23 2014Omantel launches service package for youth ,MENAFN
(MENAFN) Omantel announced launching 'Ozone' plan, a new package designed especially for the youth. This comes with the company"s constant efforts to enhance the communication needs of its customers, ...

Apr 23 2014Dh154 billion for Arabtec projects ,Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Arabtec will spend dh140 billion on building one million low-cost houses in egypt and dh14 billion on five mixed-use residential projects in abu dhabi and dubai its chief ...

Apr 23 2014?Titli? makers excited about Cannes selection ,Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The movie about the badlands of delhi?s dystopic underbelly will be in competition as part of the un certain regard section of the 67th cannes film gala to be held may ...

Apr 23 2014Saudi- Yaroub Bashraheel: In search of peace ... underwater ,Arab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) You've heard of diving snorkeling and other water activities but rarely has anyone heard of free-diving. it's a form of diving underwater without the aid of any breathing ...

Apr 23 2014Saudi- Schneider highlights intelligent health care solutions at forum ,Arab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Schneider electric a global specialist in energy management is set to showcase its leadership in intelligent health care solutions at the second saudi forum for planning and ...

Apr 23 2014Saudi- Divorcees can seek housing ,Arab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) The kingdom will accept applications from saudi divorced women and widows for financial and housing support said justice minister muhammad al-issa.al-issa called on applicants ...

Apr 23 2014Dewa and GE explore collaboration opportunities ,Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Saeed mohammed al tayer managing director and chief executive officer of the dubai electricity and water authority (dewa) recently received a ge delegation to explore ...

Apr 23 2014Sale of Gate Towers penthouses launched ,Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Aldar properties has launched the sale of 21 exclusive duplex penthouse apartments at gate towers the penthouse collection in shams abu dhabi on al reem island. one of ...

Apr 23 2014ADCB profit grows 26% in first quarter ,Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Abu dhabi commercial bank?s profit grew 26 per cent in the first quarter of the year to dh1. however net profit rose 22 per cent year-on-year. non-interest income was 24 ...

Apr 23 2014'Piles and piles' of bodies in S. Sudan ,Arab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Nairobi: gunmen who targeted both children and the elderly left 'piles and piles" of bodies — many of those in a mosque — in a provincial capital in south sudan the un's top ...

Apr 23 2014Local international companies come out in force ,Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Cityscape abu dhabi has started showing stronger interest from property developers who have showcased their upcoming projects. the three-day realty show was opened by ...

Apr 23 2014Saudi Savola Group revenue up 43 pct in Q1 ,MENAFN
(MENAFN) Saudi Arabia's Savola Group registered a 43 percent increase in profits in the first quarter, well over expectations of analysts, Arabian Business reported. According to a statement to ...

Apr 23 2014Saudi- New passport office opens at Red Sea Mall ,Arab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) The passport department has opened a new office for citizens and residents at the red sea mall.gen. abdul rahman bin abdullah al-tuwairki deputy director general of the ...

Apr 23 2014Kowait- Police deportation powers curbed ,Arab Times
(MENAFN - Arab Times) Kuwait city april 3 (afp): kuwaiti police will no longer be able to deport expatriates without interior ministry approval under new rules published thursday after officers ...

Apr 23 2014UAE- Billion-dollar realty projects on show ,Arab News
(MENAFN - Arab News) Cityscape abu dhabi a three-day realty event that began with 120 regional and international exhibitors witnessed major announcements on tuesday.salama bint hamdan al-nahyan ...

Apr 23 2014Kowait- Amiri Diwan urges all off tape case ,Arab Times
(MENAFN - Arab Times)  kuwait city april 9 (agencies): the amiri diwan has called on everybody to steer clear of the controversial tape issue and let the public prosecution take the necessary ...

Apr 23 2014Kowait- New hospital to be ready by 2014 end ,Arab Times
(MENAFN - Arab Times) Kuwait city jan 14 (kuna): director of the 'mega projects 3' group at kuwait oil company (koc) yaqoub dashti said on tuesday that the new ahmadi hospital would be ready to ...

Apr 23 2014Seven tied for the lead in chess championships ,Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Former champion sukandar grabs lead of asian continental women?s chess. former asian women’s champion wgm irene sukandar of indonesia (left) beat wim ni shiqun ...

Apr 23 2014Tamouh steps up activity on projects ,Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Abu dhabi-based real-estate developer tamouh has scaled up construction activity on all of its announced reem island projects to meet the rising demand for prime spaces in ...

Apr 23 2014Two suspects held for robbing pedestrians in Sharjah ,Khaleej Times
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The sharjah police on tuesday arrested two stateless citizens for allegedly robbing many persons posing as criminal investigation department (cid) officers. the suspects ...

more...


 






Google

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country
Marketwatch News
UPI News
Comtex News

IPO News
Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

US Markets Details

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Investment Game
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary

My MENAFN
Portfolio Tracker

Voting

Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2000 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help