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Greece’s Radical Ex-Finance Minister Could Soon Be In Court On Treason Charges

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Guy Bentley Research Associate, Reason Foundation

Greece’s former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis could soon be in a courtroom facing charges of treason after revealing a secret, and some would say subversive, plan to reintroduce the drachma and leave the euro.

Greece’s top prosecutor Efterpi Koutzamani told the Greek parliament Tuesday to examine two lawsuits that were filed against the ex-minister. One stemmed from the Mayor of Stylida, who is accusing “Varoufakis of exposing the Greek state to the risk of reprisals.”

The second, filed July 22 by lawyer Panayiotis Giannopoulos, argued Varoufakis’s behavior amounted to high treason. In Greece, high treason can carry a sentence of 25 years. Varoufakis, once described by Bloomberg as a “brilliant economist,” stands accused of causing “incalculable damage” to the Greek economy.

Varoufakis confirmed July 27 that a special taskforce was set up under his authority to draw up a plan for a parallel payments system if Greece crashed out of the euro. Speaking on a conference call with the London-based Official Monetary and Financial Institutions, Forum Varoufakis told a group of investors that a team of five economists took instructions from Greece’s finance ministry to draw up a “plan B” if negotiations over new bailout terms failed.

The plan was never implemented due to a last minute deal. Greece backed down from its post-referendum negotiating position of better terms and conceded ground on almost all of the creditors’ demands. “We were planning to create, surreptitiously, reserve accounts attached to every tax file number, without telling anyone, just to have this system in a function under wraps,” Varoufakis said. (RELATED: Hacking Tax Payers And Secret Currencies: Inside Greece’s Wild ‘B-Plan’ To Ditch The Euro)

As a member of the Greek parliament, Varoufakis is immune from criminal prosecution. However, Greek MPs could overturn the immunity after reviewing the allegations.

Commenting on the situation, conservative MP Anna Asimakopoulou said, “I would not want to be in Varoufakis’ shoes. I think that it is highly likely he will end up in a courtroom.”

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