Greek journalist Kostas Vaxevanis was arrested on Sunday morning for publishing the so-called "Lagarde list" on his magazine "HOT DOC".
The controversial list contains the names of around 2,000 depositors of up to $ 2.00 billion in a Swiss bank.The deposits are not justified by the individuals’ income, who closed their accounts once the bank informed them about a “data leak”.
Outside my home are 15 policemen. Let them come in and arrest me like German collaborators. ...They are coming in the house with a prosecutor now. They are arresting me. Spread,
Kostas Vaxevanis tweets to social media users all around the world this morning.
The prosecutor issued a warrant for Vaxevanis’s arrest because he published a list of names without special permission and violated the law on personal data, a police official answers.
Among this list that includes the names of 1,991 people who made $1.95 billion in deposits in the Geneva, Switzerland HSBC bank branch, one can find well known politicians, journalists and businessmen while several of the names of the list can be found on Zougla.grIt is apparent that a large portion of deposits are not justified with the income of depositors. Proof is that most accounts were closed after the bank briefed on the data leaking,says the journalist.
Kostas Vaxevanis, one of the “last” survivors of corruption in the Greek media and a "real" investigative journalist proceeded with the publication of the Lagarde list when he received the list content on a USB memory stick “by somebody” who wrote to HOT DOC that s/he believed: the list had been misused for political and economic purposes for two years.
The Greek virtual world is in turmoil right now as other journalists along with Greek citizens and people from all over the world have formed a great solidarity network in the social media either by using the hashtag #Freevaxevanis in Twitter or by joining the special Facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/freeVaxevanis.
Moreover, political parties have reacted fiercely to Vaxevanis’s arrest. The main opposition party SYRIZA-EKM denounces the arrest warrant as: political persecution while the Independent Greeks party leader Mr Panos Kammenos accuses the Government of persecuting Kostas Vaxevanis whilst failing to criticise the former Finance Minister, Mr Papakonstantinou, who avoided publicising the Lagarde List.
It is ironic that the arrest of Kostas Vaxevanis and the subsequent suppression of freedom of information are taking place during the Ohi Day in Greece, a day which symbolises the spirit of liberty and when the Greek people commemorate the refusal of Greece to surrender to an ultimatum issued by Axis Forces on 28 October 1940.
Update: Vaxevanis has been temporarily released. It should be stressed that the Facebook group created for his support already counts approximately 42,000 members.