Media News - Friday, November 02, 2012
A Greek journalist who published the names of more than 2,000 of his compatriots who held Swiss bank accounts was acquitted on Thursday in a case that touched a nerve over the role of tax evasion in the country's debt crisis. The trial of Costas Vaxevanis, editor of the weekly Hot Doc magazine, had aroused international concern and intense interest among Greeks hit by the impact of the country's economic collapse and angry at the privileges of the elite. He could have faced up to two year years in prison on charges of violating data privacy laws that Vaxevanis said were politically motivated and the result of politicians protecting an "untouchable" wealthy class. His speedy arrest and trial following publication of the "Lagarde List" at the weekend - so named for Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund - touched a nerve in near-bankrupt Greece, where rampant tax evasion is undermining a struggle to cut public costs and raise revenue under an EU/IMF bailout deal. After an all-day trial the courtroom - packed with journalists, rights advocates and Greek citizens - erupted in cheers when the judge pronounced Vaxevanis not guilty. Vaxevanis said he had published the names because it was his duty as a journalist and politicians had refused to act. Another newspaper, daily Ta Nea, devoted 10 pages to publishing the 2,059 names, which include several politicians as well as businessmen, shipping magnates, doctors, lawyers and housewives. (Reuters)
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