Editorial: Costas Vaxevanis – a Greek hero for our times


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The Independent Online

Remember the name Costas Vaxevanis. He is the Greek journalist who has just been committed for trial for breaching the country's privacy legislation. His supposed crime? Publishing the names of 2,000 of his fellow countrymen who hold Swiss bank accounts with HSBC. It is hard to second-guess other people's judicial systems, but if ever there was a case for invoking a public interest defence, this is surely it. That list represents a microcosm of the lax law enforcement, rampant tax evasion and sheer cheating that combined to bring the Greek economy low and imperil the euro.

Whatever happens to Mr Vaxevanis, he can hold his head high. His courage stands in honourable contrast to the attitude of Greek officialdom. Unless Athens tackles those who see themselves as above the law, its finances will never be on a sound footing. It is not a prison cell Mr Vaxevanis deserves, but a medal.