Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has confirmed that he masterminded a “parallel” currency system while in power, which could be switched from euro to drachma “at the flick of a switch.”
The scheme involved a covert team of five, Varoufakis ordering them to break into his country’s own tax ministry’s computers to access Greek nationals’ tax details.
“This was very well developed. Very soon we could have extended it, using apps on smartphones, and it could become a functioning parallel system,” he commented to UK newspaper the Telegraph.
The initial revelations regarding the secret scheme were shared with a group of international investors at an event by the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF) July 16. A transcript of Varoufakis’ words was then sent to Greek paper Kathimerini. The ex-minister said:
“The prime minister, before we won the election in January, had given me the green light to come up with a Plan B. And I assembled a very able team, a small team as it had to be because that had to be kept completely under wraps for obvious reasons.”
The Telegraph reports that among those recruited for the “Plan B” system was a technology special from Colombia University. The Greek tax office, under the control of the so-called ‘Troika’ consisting of the EU and IMF, was then hacked by the team in search of reserve accounts and file numbers of taxpayers.
- Yanis Varoufakis
“We decided to hack into my ministry’s own software program,” Varoufakis confirmed. The goal, it is said, was to facilitate digital transfers of cash from the Finance Ministry “at the touch of a button.”
Despite the drastic measures, when the news broke, Varoufakis states that his intentions had been distorted by the local press.
“… [T]hey want to present me as a rogue finance minister, and have me indicted for treason,” he told the Telegraph. “It totally distorts my purpose for wanting parallel liquidity. I have always been completely against dismantling the euro because we never know what dark forces that might unleash in Europe.”
Greece is currently attempting to reach a deal regarding its latest bailout offer from the Troika, with a deadline of August 20. About this, as well as the motives of Germany’s Federal Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schaeuble, Varoufakis remains highly skeptical.
“Everybody knows the International Monetary Fund does not want to take part in a new program but Schauble is insisting that it does as a condition for new loans,” he said. “I have a strong suspicion that there will be no deal on August 20.”