“I think more of the little kids from a school in a little village in Niger who get teaching two hours a day, sharing one chair for three of them, and who are very keen to get an education,” she said in an interview with UK-based Guardian newspaper.
“I have them in my mind all the time. Because I think they need even more help than the people in Athens,” she added.
In her interview she said Greeks “have to pay their tax,” adding that she thought “equally” about those deprived of public services by the crisis and those involved in tax avoidance.
“As far as Athens is concerned, I also think about all those people who are trying to escape tax all the time,” Lagarde said.
Tax evasion is considered a major issue in Greece, with the government earlier this year publishing a list of more than 4,000 wealthy individuals it said owed the state more than $14bn, according to Al Jazeera. Greece, in its fifth year in recession, has been struggling to apply tough austerity measures in exchange for EU-IMF bailout packages. The country has witnessed widespread cuts of up to 40 percent of pensions and minimum wages.
Asked by the newspaper of whether it was “payback time” for Greece , she responded, “That’s right”.
Greece is on the verge of getting kicked out of the eurozone as the Radical Left Coalition, Syriza, which is leading in opinion polls for June 17 elections, has promised to reject the terms of the bailout.