TL;DR: He hacked into his own government's IT system
The former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis says sections of the country's media are seeking his indictment on treason charges for hacking into his own ministry’s software programme.
The hacking occurred as part of his plans for a system of parallel payments that could be switched from euros to the drachma at the "flick of a button".
In a telephone transcript leaked to the Greek newspaper Kathimerini, Varoufakis detailed the operation:
We decided to hack into my ministry’s own software programme.
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.
Varoufakis recruited a technology specialist from Columbia University to break into the software systems of the tax office, under the control of the ‘Troika’.
He retrieved the reserve accounts and file numbers of every taxpayer, in order to enable the finance ministry to make digital transfers at “the touch of a button”.
The payments would be “IOUs”, used to create euro liquidity and circumvent the “financial strangulation” by the ECB:
This was very well developed. Very soon we could have extended it, using apps on smartphones, and it could become a functioning parallel system.
Of course this would be euro denominated but at the drop of a hat it could be converted to a new drachma.
Varoufakis claimed the cloak and dagger methods were necessary to avoid the Troika’s suspicions:
It’s like the Inland Revenue in the UK being controlled by Brussels. I am sure as you are hearing these words your hair is standing on end.
They [section of the Greek media] want to present me as a rogue finance minister, and have me indicted for treason. It is all part of an attempt to annul the first five months of this government and put it in the dustbin of history.
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.
The deputy finance minister Dimitris Mardas denied the government had ever discussed plans to take Greece out of the euro.
He told SKAI television:
I have repeatedly said that such discussions have never taken place at a government policy level.