NEWS

ELSTAT president slams decision to reopen probe

The head of the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), Andreas Georgiou, has criticized a recent Council of Appeals Court decision to launch a new investigation into allegations that he inflated the size of Greece’s 2009 public deficit to pave the way for an international bailout.

In a statement issued on Friday evening, Georgiou pointed out that the 2009 figure has been rubber stamped by Eurostat and that a European Parliament report has highlighted that Greece’s fiscal statistics were being manipulated prior to his arrival at ELSTAT, which played a significant role in the build-up to the crisis.

Georgiou said the judges’ decision sent a “clear message that anyone who dares to enforce European regulations... will be dragged to court under the constant threat of having his personal freedom denied or facing unbearable financial consequences.”

He added that the investigation provides a smokescreen for the politicians and public officials who bore responsibility for Greece’s fiscal derailment. “The ultimate goal is to push aside the political responsibilities for the model of governance that led the country to economic catastrophe and the poverty we are experiencing today,” he said.

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