Comparison of Greek and English Version of Kathimerini Scoop on Varoufakis Parallel Currency Plan

Bear in mind that the Kathimerini scoop has been confirmed by Ambrose Evans-Prtchard of the Telegraph, who has regularly filed reports on Greece coming largely from government sources, so he cannot be accused of being a creditor-friendly reporter. Evans-Prtichard says two people who were on the call have verified the account.

From our sometimes contributor Andrew Dittmer, by e-mail:

The English version follows the Greek better than I had anticipated from commenters. The English is generally quite clumsy and sometimes inappropriate connotations were created. For example, Lambert’s discussion of a “mandate” hinges on a particular word that may mean something closer to “authority;” in this case his criticism (on this particular point) would not be quite so
telling. I’m not as confident on fine judgments as to nuance in Greek as in Italian or French, so take this with a grain of salt.

I don’t see anything on Clinton in either version. The English version has a final paragraph on Schaüble that is not in the Greek original – not sure why.

However, the opening summaries (the parts before the excerpts from Varoufakis’ meeting with the hedgies) are almost entirely different. Here is my translation of the Greek version:


Starting last December, the former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, with the authorization of Alexis Tsipras, had undertaken to work out a detailed Plan B; Varoufakis aimed to create a parallel banking system “that would be, yes, denominated in Euros, but that could be converted into a new drachma in a
single night.” An extremely interesting conversation [of Varoufakis] with investors and managers of international hedge funds took place on July 16, coordinated by Baron Norman Lamont, a well-known British Conservative politician and former Finance Minister under Prime Minister John Major, within the framework of an international forum on analyses [i.e. on global economic prospects?]. At the beginning of the discussion, Mr. Varoufakis was clearly informed that “this conversation is being recorded.” Despite this fact, the former Finance Minister describes in great detail his alternative plan [i.e. his plan B], which entailed having tax registration numbers (AFMs) be intercepted [i.e. hacked] by a childhood friend of his, whom [Varoufakis] had appointed into the ministry in order to get around Mr. Sabbaïdou, as well as an electronic attack (hacking) directed at the web page of the General Secretariat of Public Revenues. When after a plea [on his part for discretion] the participants assure him that nothing he has shared in the discussion will leak out, he responds, laughing, “And if something did, I would say it wasn’t true,
I would deny it.”

Trusting a bunch of hedge fund guys to keep his deep dark secrets, on which the fate of Greece may depend…

Yves here. For ease of comparison, here is the introductory section of the English version:

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.”

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