Greek journalist Kostas Vaxevanis (L) is escorted by plain-clothed police officers to the public prosecutor in Athens on October 28, 2012.
A Greek journalist who published the names of more than 2,059 wealthy Greeks with funds hidden in Swiss bank accounts has been arrested on charges of releasing private data.
Police officials said on Sunday that Costas Vaxevanis, the owner and editor of the weekly Hot Doc,
was detained following the order of a prosecutor a day after the so-called Lagarde List, which includes some famous business and political figures, appeared in the magazine.
The list was named after International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde. She was France’s finance minister when the list was handed over to Greece in 2010. The list carried names who were supposed to be investigated over possible tax evasion.
"I did nothing other than what a journalist is obliged to do. I revealed the truth that they were hiding," said Vaxevanis in a video, where he defended his decision to publish the private data.
"If anyone is accountable before the law then it is those ministers who hid the list, lost it and said it didn't exist. I only did my job. I am a journalist and I did my job," he added.
He further accused the Greek authorities of trying to muzzle the press saying, "Tomorrow in parliament they will vote to cut 100-200 euros in pay for the Greek civil servant, for the Greek worker while at the same time most of the 2,000 people on the list appear to be evading tax by secretly sending money to Switzerland."
However, a police official said there is no evidence that names included in that list have violated the law on tax evasion and money laundering.
Greece has been at the epicenter of the eurozone debt crisis and is experiencing its fifth year of recession, while harsh austerity measures have left about half a million people without jobs.