Athens, January 8, 2016/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Olga Mavrou
A law that for the purpose of national interest legalises evidence that was obtained illegally started a bitter fight between the Greek ministry of Justice and two elected prosecutors –elected in the board of the union of prosecutors. The amendment that passed at the end of December (when everybody was discussing that day the main bill about the rights of cohabiting partners of the same sex), said that “for certain felonies, economic crimes and corruption, the evidentiary use of data obtained in an illegal manner, is allowed”. The prosecutors issued a statement that justice is not served when the state starts making exceptions even for the national interest (fighting tax evasion) and that no matter how serious the crime is, the exception still creates a legal precedent. Ministry sources responded with comments that there is no other way to legally use the evidences from the Lagard or Falciani list in order to prosecute the offenders for tax evasion or money laundering and that those exceptions were necessary in other countries also, in order to legally prosecute this kind of crimes since the means of acquiring the evidence were not “exactly legal”
The ministry also commented that probably the two prosecutors “prefer to cut the pensions of the people then getting from tax dodgers the money the state needs”. The prosecutors then issued another statement that they do not prefer the cuts on the pensions but they also do not accept that for the purpose of fighting tax evasion, one should accept amendments that contradict the constitution. After this, 5 out of the 9 member board of the prosecutors union resigned, in an effort to keep their distances, saying that two members of the board, even if one of them is the president, can not represent the whole board. At the same time the president of the union of Greek attorneys aligned with the president of the prosecutors, saying that it is a matter of democracy and off respect to the law and the constitution, and this “exceptional law” should have been the object of discussion with law entities before it was brought at night in the parliament to pass as an amendment. He also emphasised that “the constitution is not a decorative element of plastic that one can contract or expand as he wishes”. The Union of Judges and Prosecutors joined the “discussion” stating that the amendment is constitutional and that tax evasion is a serious crime since it is one of the reason the country’s economy collapsed.