The 80 billion euros that Greece needs are in Switzerland… and are Greece’s

20.07.2015 - Madrid, Spain - Redacción Madrid

This post is also available in: Spanish, Italian

Carlos Enrique Bayo, director of the Spanish daily, Publico, has written an article that is well worth reading, in which he denounces the flight of Greek capital to tax havens in recent years. He deconstructs the argument that the Greek crisis is down to, for example, pension increases or early retirement.

Bayo writes about the Troika’s and the European Council’s cynicism on hiding this information that they knew perfectly well, while arguing that the responsibility for the debt is with the impoverished Greek people and that they are obliged to once more tighten their belts.

In the article, data is provided showing how – at least – 80 billion Euros needed by Greece right now, and which they will receive as part of the third “rescue” package, are to be found in Swiss bank accounts and belong to Greek Magnates.

This situation has been reached under the full connivance of all governments prior to Tsipras, those who refused to allow publication of the Falciani list implicating ministers and their families, the Papandreou family, etc. And when a magazine took the steps of publishing the list two years later, the Public Prosecutor gave the order to arrest its director.

Bayo ends his column with the question, “Does anyone still believe that public debt is legal, moral and legitimate?”

We invite our readers to read the translation below with thanks to C.E. Bayo and Publico.

Original article in Spainsh:


Of all the many despicable acts that the Troika and the European Council have committed against Greece, perhaps the most cynical has been hiding the fact that all the money that the Greeks now need are in tax havens and have been taken out of the country by Magnates that support both Merkel and [Spanish Prime Minister] Rajoy. In concrete terms, what these potentates have hidden in Swiss bank accounts alone reaches some 80 billion euros – precisely the amount that is now being negotiated in the third Greek rescue package – according to experts consulted by the Rundschau (Panorama) programme on Swiss Radio-Television (SRF).

Better said, the Greek funds hidden in Switzerland could even be two or three times higher, as the estimates quoted in Zurich’s Neue Zürcher Zeitung am Sonntag about the sums of black money from Greece in this tax haven fluctuate between 2 and 200 billion euros! An astronomical amount that shows how Swiss government secrecy has facilitated the ransacking of public funds from Athens and ruined the country (of course, the bankruptcy has not been caused by a waste in pensions and early retirement, as our governments want us to believe). As these fabulous fortunes don’t pay one cent towards the taxes that the EU choses to burden the impoverished Greek population with.

It is impossible to calculate how much money has been taken from the Greek public purse in the capital flight unleashed since 2010 when it was recognised that the Socialist government of Kostas Simitis had hidden their colossal debt in 2001 in order to enter the Euro under the watchful eye of Goldman Sachs. That economic haemorrhage was produced in a patient already bleeding through runaway tax evasion: in 2009, a report by the Helvea Bank estimated that 99% of the more than 23 billion euros deposited by Greek millionaires in Swiss accounts was never declared to the Treasury. And this is only whats in bank accounts. It doesn’t take into account the multiple other forms of investment in Switzerland: shares, bonds, property, foundations, trusts, funds…

And, it’s not as if European authorities didn’t know the extent of the pillage of Greece’s wealth. On the contrary: in 2010, Christine Lagarde (the then French Finance Minister and current Director of the IMF) handed to her colleague in the Athens Government, Giorgios Papaconstantinou, the 2059 Greek names on the famous Falciani List (the one taken by the HSBC IT technician containing the identities of tens of thousands of European tax defrauders holding secret accounts in the Zurich office of that international bank). On the Greek list appeared a former Culture Minister, several people in senior positions in the Finance Ministry and numerous business leaders and political figures.

But the Athens government not only hid this list and kept their fingers crossed – despite it showing that one family alone, the Papandreous, was hiding 500 million euros in that branch– but furthermore two years later, when the magazine Hot Doc published these names, the Greek prosecutor hurriedly ordered the arrest of its director, the investigative journalist Kostas Vaxevanis, for violating the defrauders’ privacy! Moreover, it was discovered last year that the Minister Papaconstantinou deleted his cousin Eleni and her husband, and the husband of his sister, Marina, who had millions in accounts in HSBC from the original list of names.

“The most interesting thing is why Greece, among all the countries that received this {Falciani} list, was the only one that didn’t use it,” to recover the defrauded fortune, wrote the political commentator Pavlos Tsimas in the Sunday edition of Greece’s Ta Nea newspaper. And that omission was not only committed by the socialist Papaconstantinou (who negotiated the first Greek rescue package that subjected the country to devastating austerity), but also by his successor as head of the Finance Ministry, Evangelos Venizelos, who ended up as leader of PASOK, as well as the following conservative Government of Antonis Samaras, a great friend and ally of Rajoy, who applied to the letter the impositions of the Troika, ruining the country in the process.

But let’s not think that it’s only the Greek two-party system (New Democracy and PASOK) that dedicated itself to covering up the great defrauders who drained the public coffers. For example, the British Labour and Conservative governments both ignored the 7000 UK accounts in the Falciani List: over 8 years, only one of these 7000 were charged, according to the BBC, and instead these governments allowed that over that time these potentates could transfer around 100 billion euros to other tax havens; an immense fortune that fled the British treasury thanks to the inaction of governments that at the same time multiplied the fiscal pressure on salaried employees. These governments cut services and welfare with the argument that there was not enough public money.

Moreover, Switzerland is only one of 74 tax havens on the planet in which it is estimated (according to Wall Street) that 32 trillion dollars are hidden (the total Spanish GDP from here until 2045), a gigantic accumulation of capital that, in addition, grows by a billion dollars every year. It is that tremendous cache of money, defrauded from the public purse, from where comes the money of “the markets” which States now have to borrow and which has to be religiously returned through the sacrifice and penury of the people according to the quasi-religious doctrine of neoliberal austerity.

Does anyone still believe that public debt is legal, moral and legitimate?

Categories: Economics, Europe, International
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