The criminal investigation into former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis will involve a cyber-crime law enforcement unit, as Greek officials seek to uncover whether Varoufakis’ “Plan B,” an emergency plan that would have required the government to hack into private taxpayer accounts and switch from the euro to the drachma currency.
Kathimerini, the Greek newspaper that initially broke the story of Plan B, notes that the chief prosecutor of the Athens First Instance Court, Ilias Zagoraios, is calling for an official investigation into Varoufakis’ actions by Greece’s cyber crime unit. Investigators will be looking for any evidence that, in the course of preparing this contingency plan, Varoufakis and his team actually hacked into private taxpayer accounts. Such a hack would be the equivalent of an American Secretary of the Treasury hacking into the Internal Revenue Service’s files.
“Plan B,” as The Telegraph describes, was designed to allow the Finance Ministry to hack into government computers and switch files “from euros to the drachma at the ‘flick of a button.'” Varoufakis organized a five-person team to design the plan and control tax office computers behind the backs of Greece’s creditors.
“The context of all this is that they want to present me as a rogue finance minister, and have me indicted for treason. It is all part of an attempt to annul the first five months of this government and put it in the dustbin of history,” Varoufakis told The Telegraph about the plan.
As a high-ranking member of Greece’s executive, Varoufakis cannot be prosecuted for these actions, even though he is no longer a government worker. He enjoys executive immunity for actions committed during his tenure.
He is nonetheless being investigated on unsavory activity that could amount to treason, not only involving the Plan B accusations, but in how woefully inadequate his diplomatic efforts regarding Greece’s debt with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund were. That investigation is being overseen by Greece’s chief prosecutor Efterpi Koutzamani, whose biggest case before this was the indictment of dozens of members of the Golden Dawn political party, a neo-Nazi Greek nationalist group.
Varoufakis’ inability to secure a deal with the EU and IMF during his tenure and penchant for exacerbating animosity among the group of negotiators eventually resulted in the nation’s Prime Minister, the far-left Alexis Tsipras, being forced to present before the Greek Parliament a bailout deal that imposed even more severe austerity measures that the one originally proposed by the EU. That deal was rejected by the Greek people through a national referendum on July 5, and the stricter measures have triggered the beginnings of a revolt within Tsipras’ party, the Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza). Speaking today, Tsipras told members of the government that “we are on the final stretch of concluding a deal” with the EU and IMF, one that would allow the Greek government to continue operating.
Greece has until August 20 to reach a deal with its creditors, thanks to a bridge loan acquired following the adoption of more austerity measures in July.