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Cyprus

‘Lagarde list’ whistleblower to cooperate with tax authorities

Whistleblower Herve Falciani

French whistleblower Herve Falciani, the man behind the infamous ‘Lagarde list’, has agreed to cooperate with Cypriot authorities and pledged to provide further information, Tax Department head Yiannis Tsangaris said on Tuesday.

Speaking on state TV’s noon news show, Tsangaris said a meeting at the Tax Department on Tuesday morning finalised the next steps in the handling of 85 individuals who were found to have held undeclared – and thus untaxed – deposits in Swiss HSBC bank more than a decade ago.

“We have come to final decisions on the way forward, and on Thursday we will reconvene to conclude our meeting,” Tsangaris said.

But, he noted, the department is not yet in a position to say whether any of the cases will need to be referred to the Attorney General’s office.

Preliminary estimates of the expected tax revenue to be collected from undeclared income found in the Lagarde list were placed at €35 million by Finance Minister Harris Georgiades in January, a figure Tsangaris confirmed on Tuesday.

The names of the 85 suspected tax-dodgers were included in a list provided to Georgiades by the French government last August, which included around 500 names of individuals and companies with deposits at HSBC Switzerland.

French police obtained the list, nicknamed the Lagarde List after France’s former finance minister and current managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, from Falciani, an ex-technician at the bank in 2009.

According to Tsangaris, the former HSBC employee has been contacted and is willing to cooperate by procuring additional data.

“You only possess a third of the available information,” he was quoted as saying by state TV.

“Herve Falciani has responded positively to the request for assistance by Cypriot authorities, and has pledged to help with more information,” Tsangaris said.

But pressed to say whether he will be meeting Falciani personally – in Barcelona, as reported by daily Simerini – the tax czar was evasive.

“The man offered to help – I won’t comment on any possible meeting we may have,” he said.

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