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Politics

Ex-Aide Cleared Of Tax Evasion, Samaras Wants Tsipras Apology

ATHENS – After a former top aide to him was cleared of tax cheating charges, former premier Antonis Samaras demanded major opposition SYRIZA leader  Alexis Tsipras apologize for attacking the Conservatives ex-advisor.

While in power, Tsipras tried to tie Stavros Papastavrou – who served Samaras from 2013-2015 – to alleged corruption in the government, which was disproven after a court set aside the charges that included money laundering.

"I am therefore asking, directly, Mr. Tsipras: Even though he knew from the very first moment of Papastavrou's innocence, he shamefully manufactured, along with the para-state, these charges? I am asking Mr. Tsipras why after humiliating an innocent person, they (SYRIZA) offered to rehabilitate him in return for favors,” reported the business newspaper Naftemporiki.

Papastavrou had faced tax evasion charges related to the so-called Lagarde List of Greek citizens with deposits at the Geneva branch of HSBC during a largely failed hunt to go after Greeks hiding their income in foreign banks.

In a bitter debate in Parliament in 2016, Tsipras nodded in the affirmative when pressed by main opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis – the current prime minister – if he would apologize if Papastavrou was cleared but hasn't yet.

Speaking outside Greece’s Supreme Court, Papastavrou said he was victim of a “political prosecution” due to his collaboration with the conservative party and the ex-premier, reported Kathimerini.

“Justice had its say however despite efforts to manipulate it,” Papastavrou, a lawyer, said. “I waited six difficult years to get justice. And I finally got justice,” he also said.

In 2016, Papastavrou, a lawyer, was asked to pay 3.5 million euros ($4.15 million) in taxes in connection to a deposit in his name included in the Lagarde List hunt for tax cheats.

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