After playing down the initiative as a contingency plan that had never been implemented, and after denying the report and claiming that the media was using it to discredit him, former Finance Minister Varoufakis finally admitted that he had made secret preparations to hack into Greek citizens' tax codes to create a parallel banking payment system. More exactly, Varoufakis admitted that he was developing a parallel banking system to turn the tax records of citizens from euro into drachmas with the touch of a button. In a conference call with the London-based OMFIF think-tank, which was recorded on July 16 but only released on Monday July 28th, Varoufakis outlines his secret plan to a bunch of hedge fund investors and says that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had given him the go ahead to devise this plan (named "Plan B") before gaining government on January 25th. (The scandal was exposed by the Kathimerini newspaper on Sunday.)
In the recording, which was released on Monday and which is causing a storm of reactions, we can actually hear Varoufakis clearly saying that he had assembled a five-person team led by U.S. economist James Galbraith to do just that.
"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," he said, adding that "of course this would be euro-denominated but at the drop of a hat it could be converted to a new drachma."At some point in the recording, the moderator warns Varoufakis that other people were listening to the teleconference but would not repeat its contents and Varoufakis replied: "I know they are. And even if they do I will deny I said it."
(By far this is the worse statement of all, because it shows how politicians demonize the press at times for daring to expose the truth).
The plan, according to the recording, was to hack into his own ministry's software to copy tax systems code. In order to achieve this, Varoufakis said that he hired a childhood friend who was a software expert to help with the planning.
(Please note that his childhood friend was from Columbia University. This is an important factor as will be explained below.)
After denying the reports at first, and then playing the role of a media victim, Varoufakis was finally forced to admit the truth after the recording came to light. In a statement that was posted on his blog, Varoufakis defends the contingency planning and slams the domestic and foreign media for indulging in "far-fetched articles that damage the quality of public debate".
"Greece's Ministry of Finance would have been remiss had it made no attempt to draw up contingency plans," the statement said, adding the unit worked within government policy and its recommendations were aimed at keeping the country in the euro zone.Meanwhile, and in a separate statement posted on Varoufakis' blog, Galbraith notes that he had (unofficially) worked on the top secret plan on the basis that the government was committed to negotiating within the euro zone. Apart from coming into contact with SYRIZA MP (and drachma lobbiest) Costas Lapavitsas Galbraith said in his post that his secret group had no cooperation with the radical Left Platform of SYRIZA and concluded its work in May.
And if that wasn't enough, on Tuesday Varoufakis told the Financial Times in an interview that as he was handing over the reins of the finance ministry to SYRIZA MP Euclid Tsakalotos on July 6, he presented him with a full account of the ministry’s projects, priorities and achievements during his five months in office. According to him, the Plan B payments system was also apparently part of this presentation but luckily no member of the press took any notice.
(He actually says this to the Financial Times!!!)
"But when a subsequent telephone discussion with a large number of international investors, organised by my friend Norman Lamont and David Marsh of the official monetary and financial institutions forum, was leaked despite the Chatham House rule that we agreed with listeners, the press had a field day. Committed to unlimited openness and full transparency, I granted OMFIF permission to release the tapes.The confession has provoked a storm of reactions. On Monday, at least 24 members of the main opposition New Democracy party sent a formal request to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to clarify whether he was aware of the plan to introduce Greece to a new national currency. if he had approved it and to also specify the actions he would take with regard to the political and criminal investigation of the case.
"While I understand the press’s excitement emanating from elements of that exchange, such as having to consider unorthodox means of gaining access to my own ministry’s systems, there is only one matter of significance from a public interest perspective. There is a hideous restriction of national sovereignty imposed by the troika of lenders upon Greek ministers who are denied access to departments of their ministries pivotal in implementing innovative policies. When sovereignty loss, due to unsustainable official debt, yields suboptimal policies in already stressed nations, one knows that there is something rotten in the euro’s kingdom." Financial Times
In a separate statement, the main opposition New Democracy party claims that specific elements within the ruling SYRIZA party had a hidden agenda for Grexit and used various “methods" that are dangerous to Greece's democracy and its national interests. At the same time ND called on the Greek Prime Minister and his younger coalition partner Panos Kammenos (leader of ANEL) to break their silence and finally come clean with “convincing and responsible explanations”.
On its part, the Potami party party called on Tsipras to confirm whether or not he was aware of Varoufakis’s plan since it was revealed on the recording that the plan was drawn up after consultations with the PM himself.
Without a doubt all this evidence has severely damaged the image of the SYRIZA party. Varoufakis' own admission that there were plans to “hack” into Greek taxpayers personal tax codes has sent Greece's political, financial and social world abuzz.
The news has also captured the attention of the the Greek justice system. A meeting that was convened by Chief Prosecutor of Greece Euterpe Koutzamani including leading senior magistrates and prosecutors, decided that the Supreme Court should turn to parliament to prosecute Yanis (with one "n"). As such the Supreme Court would turn to the Greek National Assembly for this very reason.
According to legal circles, Greek justice cannot automatically start formal proceedings against the former finance minister as this is not allowed under the provisions of the law on ministerial responsibility.
(In accordance with the law on the criminal responsibility of Greek MPs, parliament must first decide whether or not to conduct a preliminary investigation and withdraw the immunity of the MP accused before the Supreme Court can begin prosecuting the case.)
Meanwhile, General Secretary for Public Revenues Katerina Savvaidou responded with an order for an urgent internal inquiry to be held under oath so as to investigate whether staff at the secretariat had committed illegal acts. According to an announcement, there will be an internal check of all IT systems to try and uncover whether any unauthorized accessing of data occurred.
And if that wasn't enough, there are also two lawsuits for treason which have already been filed against Yanis (with one "n") Varoufakis. The first by the non-parliamentary Telia party, former actor and mayor of Stilida Apostolos Gletsos and the second by Athenian lawyer Mr. Giannopoulos.
Regardless what decision parliament adopts, the Supreme Court will still go after all (non-political) persons involved in the drafting and implementation of this plan. As such expect to see action against Michalis Chatzitheodorou, Yanis Varoufakis’ childhood friend and information systems professor at the University of Colombia in the US, who was acting Chief Secretary for Information Services. As admitted by Varoufakis on the recording, Chatzitheodorou had developed the scheme to hack into the tax records of Greek citizens with the use of his own personal laptop.
Knowing very well that he will soon be faced with the law, Michalis Chatzitheodorou on Tuesday denied any “intervention in the information systems of the Treasury" claiming in a statement that all revelations regarding the hacking of the ministry systems are "absolutely untrue". Although Varoufakis did not outright name Chatzitheodorou during the infamous teleconference with the London-based Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum, his identity was made known via the Greek media.
During the teleconference, the former Greek finance minister described in detail the attempt to create a parallel banking system which would resort to the drachma “at a touch of the button”, if negotiations with Greece’s creditors failed.
On the role of Chatzitheodorou he said that the general secretariat of information systems was controlled by him directly.
"I appointed a good friend of mine, a childhood friend of mine, who had become a professor of IT at Columbia University in the States, and so on, I put him there because I trusted him to develop the system. At some point, a week or so after we moved into the ministry, he calls me up and says to me: You know what, I control the machines, I control the hardware. I don’t control the software. The software belongs to the troika-controlled general secretariat for public revenues.In his statement Chatzitheodorou says that "The General Secretariat of Information Systems and Logistics and me personally, have designed, let alone attempted, any kind of intervention to its systems." He also notes that "the General Secretariat for Information Systems has established procedures and strict standards that guarantee the security of personal data“
"What do we do? So we had a meeting, just the two of us, nobody else knew. He said: Listen, if I ask for permission from them to start implementing this program then the troika will immediately know we are designing a parallel system. Well, I said, That won’t do, we don’t want to reveal our hand at this stage. So I authorised him, and you can’t tell anyone that, this is totally between us, to hack…"
OMFIF forum on July 16th
During the 4th minute of the recording, Varoufakis begins to analyze the main points of his plan B. Just before the 5th minute, he goes into detail on how they were going to create alternative accounts of all Greek taxpayers, including the use of smart phone applications. In order to achieve this they planned to issue new pin codes, which in turn would have formed a parallel payment system. At 6 minutes into the recording, Varoufakis begins talking about the parallel banking system that would have allowed the government to act when the European Central Bank would close Greek banks and at 7 minutes into the recording he begins talking about his childhood friend whom he had appointed to hack the software program of his own ministry.
Here is the recording
(His statement leaves it to be understood that instead of negotiating with Greece's creditors in the first few months after SYRIZA was elected to power, he was more concentrated on materializing his plan to return Greece to the drachma. Another interesting factor is that the statement was written in the third person.)
Here is his statement.
"During the Greek government’s negotiations and until the referendum, Minister of Finance Yanis Varoufakis oversaw a working group with a remit to prepare contingency plans against the creditors’ efforts to undermine the Greek government and in view of forces at work within the euro zone to have Greece expelled from the euro. The working group was convened by the Minister, at the behest of the Prime Minister, and was coordinated by Professor James K. Galbraith."Then the saga begins. Speaking as an outsider, the statement on Varoufakis claims that he was/is a victim of strong criticism from the media and that the government had no contingency plan in the case of Grexit.
"Ever since Varoufakis announced the existence of the working group, the media indulged in far-fetched articles that damage the quality of public debate, attempting to describe the group as a ‘conspiracy’ working on the return to the national currency. This is defamation. The Ministry of Finance’s working group worked exclusively within the framework of government policy and its recommendations were always aimed at serving the public interest, at respecting the laws of the land, and at keeping the country in the euro zone."The full text of Yanis Varoufakis’ statement in English and Greek is available here:
http: //yanisvaroufakis.eu/2015/07/27/statement-by-yanis-varoufakis-on-th ...
In addition to his own statement, Varoufakis published a public statement by Professor Galbraith in which he admits that he was a coordinator of this secret working group.
Commenting on the fresh evidence First Deputy Speaker Alexis Mitropoulos on Tuesday blamed Varoufakis for the austerity of the measures.
"With his lack of modesty, his naivety, his zeal to showcase his own ideas it seems that he has hurt the Greek issue."
Mitropoulos said and added:"German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and the creditors were likely aware of his intentions and as a result we should now accept these harsh measures and plan. Probably he had confided them or had expressed them as a threat, or as one of his plans," he said in statements to private MEGA TV.
Frappers... A couple of years ago, a leap to death from the general secretary of the culture ministry almost brought down the entire government of Costas Karamanlis. For days the general secretariat's secret affair with one of his cabinet members made front page news in an attempt to discredit the government of Costas Karamanlis. While today a plan to return Greece to the drachma and take our economy back 2, or even 3 generations is described as being "propaganda" (and even an ingenious plan) by the same people who used the leap of death to crawl their way into power.
Obviously the severity of these two cases cannot be compared, yet there is no hysteria over Varoufakis' actions at all. One case involves a hot affair, and was a cause to bring down a government and the other involves the savings of Greek citizens and yet there is not a care in the world and the government and leadership of this country is not to blame Why? The answer is simple. The Left is in power and the Greek state is finally naked in the sense that it has always worked in favor of the progressive factions in Greece. No wonder all the unions are operated by the progressives.
Not even Spielberg could have come up with a better scenario. Think about it, a minister plans to devise a program to purposely exit Greece out of the Eurozone at the behest of the Prime Minister and admits this to hedge fund investors who we all know are waiting to prey on Greece like vultures. Yet not one nose is bleeding over the matter because hey... its not cool to be bothered with what the Left does because it is "progressive". It is insane! Here is actual evidence of a planned coup by secret group, or as described by HF in previous articles as the 'drachma lobby" with hired foreign and domestic experts who are all somehow linked to Columbia University. The same university which George Papandreou also gave lectures at, and the same institution which is highly backed by none other than billionaire George Soros. Let us not forget that Soros brought down the Bank of England a few years ago, and we all know how much he wanted to bring down the Eurozone. Another interesting bit of information that was revealed on Tuesday involves an aide of the Clinton family who said that had Greece exited the Eurozone in 2010 (or under George Papandreou -as planned-) today Greece would have been a haven for business and an entirely different place. Should we also remind all of you that the Clintons are also highly backed by George Soros as well?
Imagine if all of this was happening under a conservative government. Greek cities would be thrown into complete chaos by swarms of anarchists (such as the December riots 2008), the public sector would have been staging protests all over the country, schools would have already shut down, half of Greece would have been ablaze and the West (US and UK) would have even called back their Ambassadors. But no... Now that a progressive government is in power, and a minister has admitted devising a plan to destroy everything Greeks have worked for for the past 20+ years -with the supposed green light of the prime minister himself- everything is peachy. The media is at fault for making a big deal out of the case, and no one should be concerned because according to progressives this move was not only right, it was also "ingenious".
Greek citizens may have once again been duped by the progressive left, but luckily they are now beginning to realize that they were also conned into voting "NO" at the recent referendum a few weeks ago because -as revealed over the past few days- the overall plan from day one was to return Greece to the drachma! It is going to be quite (sadly) entertaining to see the reaction of Greek tax payers when the Leftist Memorandum comes to pass (especially those who voted for the government). The previous governments were traitors, they were "germanotsoliades" they dared to vote YES to stay in the Euro, but no banks ever closed, our economy was beginning to show a surplus and the Greek state finally began to shrink.
No wonder no one takes this country seriously at times. There is no logic behind this kind of thinking, only madness. Whatever the Left does is acceptable and whatever the Right does is not. It just proves how divided we are as a society,. how the civil war never ended in Greece, and how a few wannabes play on this to not only widen the gap between us, but to also bank on it.
Greece may have given birth to democracy but it definitely suffers from Varoufakis bourgeois style rock stars who live for five minutes of fame at the expense of the masses. This country has actually been suffering from this for 40 years now and the Left has been very successful in gathering support because they present it as something cool, something progressive, something different.
Digest it, political parties are companies and sell ideologies. They do not care about me or you or any one of us, all they care about is their five minutes of fame and power (the money also helps). The repercussions of what happened in July will begin to surface once tourism dies down, and Greek citizens realize how much damage was made.
We need to rid ourselves once and for all from this type of thinking. We don't need foreign armies to destroy this country, we do a pretty good job of poking our own eyes all by ourselves.
References: Kathimerini, YouTube, SkaiTv, MEGA Tv, Reuters, BBC, The TOC, ANA-MPA, Proto-Thema, Enikos