This decision was made by the parliament in athens early friday morning after a 16-hour debate, some of which was stormy. The committee’s report should be available in about five weeks.
265 deputies voted in favor of setting up the committee of inquiry against papakonstantinou. This far exceeded the required number of 151 of the total of 300 deputies, according to the parliamentary prasidium. If the committee finds sufficient evidence, the parliament must then decide whether to lift the 51-year-old’s immunity.
The accusations are harsh: the former finance minister is accused of falsifying data and breaching his duties. Papakonstantinou is said to have deleted the names of relatives from a file of suspected greek taxpayers with cash deposits in switzerland. He headed the finance department in 2010, when the list was first handed over to greece by the then french finance minister christine lagarde.
Papakonstantinou denies the accusations. If his immunity was revoked, a special court would then decide whether he was guilty. Papakonstantinou faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted, lawyers in athens say.
On the other hand, the parliament rejected opposition demands to lift the immunity of former prime ministers giorgos papandreou and lucas papademos as well as former finance minister evangelos venizelos. The opposition had accused them of negligence in checking the list of suspected tax sinners.
Almost the entire greek press criticized on friday that the rumpus in parliament over the tax scandal was crude. However, the state has so far not collected a single euro in taxes.