Kostas Vaxevanis has blown the whistle on the rich and powerful in his country and he's been arrested and hauled into court for it in what could turn into an astonishing showdown in a country that is a powderkeg of pent up resentment just looking for a spark.
Vaxevanis is the editor of a Greek weekly, Hot Doc, that just published the names of what it claims are the 2,000 biggest tax evaders in the country. He was giving a radio interview when the cops tracked him down and hauled him away.
His defenders say the government is trying to hide the truth that it had the list for two years and did nothing because the names include prominent members of the country's business and political elites.
"If anyone is accountable before the law then it is those ministers
who hid the list, lost it and said it didn't exist. I only did my job. I
am a journalist and I did my job," Vaxevanis said in the video sent to
Reuters news agency.
The case has triggered a parliamentary
inquiry and could provide the basis for prosecutions at a time of rising
radicalism on both left and right and a sense of injustice over the
widespread destitution and despair created by Greece's economic crisis
set against the relative impunity of the country's rich, who have a long
history of tax evasion.
George Papaconstantinou, a former finance
minister, said the Greek tax authorities had failed to act on the list
because they were afraid of confronting the country's elite tax evaders.
He also claimed that the affair brought to light only a small part of a
massive tax evasion problem that was part of what he described as a
"broken and corrupt system".