Greek deputies call for ex-minister's prosecution

ATHENS (AFP) - A Greek parliament committee on Wednesday recommended the prosecution of former finance minister George Papaconstantinou for allegedly tampering with a confidential tax list.

A majority of committee members from the conservative, socialist and moderate leftist parties called for Mr Papaconstantinou's prosecution for breach of trust, document falsification and breach of duty.

"The heads of parliament will now meet to determine the next phase," a spokesperson for the committee chairman told AFP.

A full parliament session is to determine on Tuesday which of the charges, if not all, to wield against Mr Papaconstantinou. A judicial council will subsequently decide whether the former minister will face a special court.

The former socialist minister is suspected of tweaking a document containing the names of some 2,000 Greek citizens with accounts at HSBC bank in Switzerland, to hinder a probe into tax evasion.

mr Papaconstantinou, who has retired from politics, is accused of deleting the names of three of his relatives from the list but claims he is innocent.

Originally leaked by an HSBC employee, the list was sent to Mr Papaconstantinou in 2010 by current International Monetary Fund (IMF) head Christine Lagarde who was France's finance minister at the time.

Local media have dubbed the scandal the "Lagarde list" affair.

In January, Greece's parliament voted in favour of setting up a committee to look into the former minister's suspected cover-up.

Earlier this month, an overwhelming majority of Greek lawmakers further decided that he should also be investigated for damaging the image of the public treasury during his stint as finance minister.

Mr Papaconstantinou helped set up the heavily indebted country's first austerity programme and European Union-IMF bailout deal in 2010.