Greece’s governing coalition has moved to set up a parliamentary probe into allegations that former Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou tampered with a list of some 2,000 wealthy Greeks with Swiss bank accounts, erasing the names and details of three of his relatives.
Mr Papaconstantinou, who received the list from French authorities in 2010 but later claimed he had lost the computer disk, has denied any wrongdoing, hinting that his political foes were trying to incriminate him.
The allegations, concluded last week after a lengthy probe by a rash of Supreme Court prosecutors, centred on a number of HSBC (LSE: HSBA.L - news) accounts that two of Mr Papaconstantinou’s cousins and their spouses held in a Geneva branch.
While one account appeared to be dormant, officials said, the second showed deposits in excess of $1.2m (£740,000).
Under the government's unanimous decision on Monday, the country’s 300-seat parliament will convene within two weeks to vote on whether the former political strongman, who signed the country up to its first multi-billion euro bailout, should face trial for breach of duty and criminal tampering.
With the government struggling to fix the country’s broken economy, the emerging scandal has cast a pall over Athens’ attempt to re-instill public credibility - no less at a time when officials have mounted yet another crackdown on widespread tax evasion that steals the state of at least €40bn (£33bn) a year.
A recent opinion poll shows that 68pc of Greeks believe the government is not doing enough to tackle tax cheats, preferring to turn a blind eye to oligarchs and special interests while enforcing brutal budget cuts and tax hikes on some 5m wage earners.