Varoufakis faces criminal charges over plans to set up a parallel payment system

The Greek parliament has received two legal complaints about the secret contingency plans

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The Independent Online

Yanis Varoufakis, the former Greek finance minister, could face criminal charges over plans to set up an alternative payment system.

The Greek parliament has received two legal complaints about the secret contingency plans made by Yanis Varoufakis and a working group in case Greece was forced to issue a temporary currency, such as scrip, because it no longer had access to euros.

Varoufakis is immune from criminal prosecution because of his position as an MP, but this protection could be overturned by the Greek parliament in a ballot when it reviews the allegations. Varoufakis would then be tried in a special court.

Parliament has received the complaints from the Supreme Court on behalf of a lawyer and a mayor, and separately from a group of opposition conservative MPs.

Varoufakis told investors on a leaked call that he had been “given the green light” to set up a five-man working group to draw up plans for an alternative currency ever since the end of last year.

“We did not have a mandate to bring Greece out the euro, we had a mandate to negotiate an agreement with the Eurogroup and the European Central Bank that would render Greece sustainable within the eurozone,”  he said on the call, which has been leaked in full.

At 6’50” Varoufakis can be heard saying that the Greek finance ministry is controlled fully by the troika. At 8’30” he then explains the decision to hack into the finance ministry records. “We decided to hack into our own public finance body to copy the code on the backsystems website onto a large computer so we could work out how to design and implement this parallel payments systems,” he says.

The European Commission has since denied that it controls the Greece’s public finance body, calling the accusations false and unfounded. Varoufakis has released a statement on his website denying that the working group was designed to advocate for exit from the euro, rather that is was supposed to draw up a plan in case an exit became inevitable.

The furore comes at same time as third bailout negotiations get underway, with Greece hoping it can secure and agreement with creditors to ensure funds are received by the second week of August.