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Reports Of Secret Drachma Plots Leave Tsipras Facing Fresh Crisis
On Friday, we brought you the shocking story
of the rebellion that never was in Greece.
According to FT, Former Greek Energy Minister and maverick among mavericks Panayotis Lafazanis convened a „secret“ meeting at the Oscar Hotel in Athens on July 14 at which he attempted to convince Syriza hardliners (including, in FT’s words, „supporters of the late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez [and some] old-fashioned communists“) to storm the Greek mint, seize the country’s currency reserves, and, if necessary, arrest central bank governor Yannis Stournaras.
Obviously, the plan was never implemented, but if the story is even partly true it betrays the degree to which Greece teetered on the edge of social upheaval and even civil war in the days that followed PM Alexis Tsipras’ decision to concede to creditors’ demands and abandon not only Syriza’s election mandate but the very referendum outcome he had himself campaigned for just days prior.
Now that Tsipras has succeeded in compelling Greek lawmakers to cede the country’s sovereignty to Brussels in exchange for the right to use the euro, tales of unrealized redenomination plots have come out of the woodwork so to speak, and now, in addition to the scheme described above and rumors that a return to the drachma was nearly financed by a loan from the Kremlin, we get a glimpse at yet another plan hatched behind the scenes, this time courtesy of a recorded conference call between Yanis Varoufakis and „members of international hedge funds.“
Former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has claimed that he was authorized by Alexis Tsipras last December to look into a parallel payment system that would operate using wiretapped tax registration numbers (AFMs) and could eventually work as a parallel banking system, Kathimerini has learned.
In a teleconference call with members of international hedge funds that was allegedly coordinated by former British Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont, Varoufakis claimed to have been given the okay by Tsipras last December – a month before general elections that brought SYRIZA to power – to plan a payment system that could operate in euros but which could be changed into drachmas „overnight“ if necessary, Kathimerini understands.
Varoufakis worked with a small team to prepare the plan, which would have required a staff of 1,000 to implement but did not get the final go-ahead from Tsipras to proceed, he said.
The call took place on July 16, more than a week after Varoufakis left his post as finance minister.
The plan would involve hijacking the AFMs of taxpayers and corporations by hacking into General Secretariat of Public Revenues website, Varoufakis told his interlocutors. This would allow the creation of a parallel system that could operate if banks were forced to close and which would allow payments to be made between third parties and the state and could eventually lead to the creation of a parallel banking system, he said.
As the general secretariat is a system that is monitored by Greece’s creditors and is therefore difficult to access, Varoufakis said he assigned a childhood friend of his, an information technology expert who became a professor at Columbia University, to hack into the system. A week after Varouakis took over the ministry, he said the friend telephoned him and said he had “control” of the hardware but not the software „which belongs to the troika.“
Apparently, Varoufakis planned to take control of the computers first, then hack into the ministry’s software, steal the code, and design the parallel payments system. Here are excerpts from the call, again from Kathimerini, quoting Varoufakis: (…)