NEWS

Supreme Court prosecutor seeks to reopen case against ex-statistics chief

TAGS: Justice

Supreme Court Prosecutor Xeni Dimitriou on Wednesday ordered the reopening of a case against the former head of Greece’s statistical service, Andreas Georgiou, after a Council of Appeals Court judges ruled for a second time that he should not face charges. This is the second time that the country’s top prosecutor overturns an earlier ruling in favor of Georgiou, in a case that has become a touchstone for relations between Greece and its creditors.

Criminal charges were first brought against Georgiou in 2013 after ELSTAT employees accused him and other ELSTAT officials of artificially inflating Greek budget figures in 2009 to force the country into an international bailout. The European statistical service, EUROSTAT, has repeatedly assured that Georgiou applied correct procedures.

The Supreme Court prosecutor accepted a motion for the overturning of the decision exonerating Georgiou of the charge of making a false statement, a criminal offense. Now the issue will have to be discussed again by judges in the Athens court of appeals. According to sources, Dimitriou found legal cause to order the reexamination.

The Georgiou case has long been a thorn in the Greek government’s negotiations with creditors, who demanded that the issue be settled and Georgiou’s legal costs paid by the state before the latest review of Greece’s compliance with the bailout agreement was completed. The issue seemed to be settled and the latest tranche of bailout money was released earlier this month, only for the latest twist in the saga on Wednesday.

Aside from the charge of making a false statement, Georgiou also faces charges of breach of authority. That trial is scheduled for July 31.

Georgiou, who was an employee of the International Monetary Fund, has been targeted for years by interests allied to the government of former prime minister Costas Karamanlis, who claim that the country’s deficit was not as large as ELSTAT reported. Eurostat has confirmed ELSTAT’s figures.

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