Athens District Attorney’s has indicted 6 people, including a member of the Greek Secret Service (EYP) and two who allegedly were collaborating with the National Intelligence Service (ΕΥP), for creating a group in order to assassinate journalist Kostas Vaxevanis, publisher of HOT DOC magazine
On the 9th September 2012, a few days before the journalist published the Lagarde List, 5 people ambushed him inside his house. Kostas Vaxevanis became aware of their presence and called the police. After a thorough investigation, done mostly by the editorial team of HOT DOC, the police was led to the 6 people mentioned above, who had organized not only this particular operation, but many others as well.
The journalist had claimed from the first moment that this was a group hired by the bankers against whom disclosures have been made. The same group used anonymous blogs to slander journalists Stephen Grey (Reuters) and Thomas Landon Jr. (New York Times), who both had published stories regarding scandals and corruption inside the Greek banking system.
In October 2012, Vaxevanis’ news magazine, Hot Doc, published a list of 2,059 Greek residents with accounts at the Geneva branch of HSBC. He said that he had verified the authenticity of the list, which was delivered anonymously to the magazine on a flash drive, by calling up a tenth of the people on it and asking them to confirm that they had an account with HSBC. He said they have also verified the balance of their accounts as those appeared on a particular date on the list. Hot Doc published only names of the account holders and their stated profession. It did not disclose the amount of money they were holding in the bank.
Public prosecutor brought Vaxevanis into trial and he was acquitted. The prosecutor’s office appealed the decision. At his retrial in December an Athens court has acquitted again Kostas Vaxevanis on charges of breaking privacy laws by publishing the “Lagarde List”.
In his defence, the accused had told the court that he had published the list in order “to expose the system of corruption that is oppressing the country and which is on that list”.