COMMENT

The 'seven-year-long judicial hounding' of former stats chief Andreas Georgiou

EDUARD BRAU

TAGS: Letter to the editor

Dear Sir,

Professor Vasilis Sarafidis in his article of October 22 on “The tragedy of Greek statistics” describes well the deliberate falsification of Greek fiscal data between 1997 and 2009, which he says “played a key role in the country’s bankruptcy in 2010 and has hampered its recovery from the crisis to date.” This falsification of statistics was halted by Andreas Georgiou when in August 2010 he became president of the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) for the period 2010-15.

Professor Sarafidis also notes that Mr Georgiou is still facing legal proceedings, “despite the fact that prosecutors and investigators have ruled that he is not guilty in five cases,” but does not explain why. I wish to explain why: The shameful legal persecution of Mr Georgiou continues because of the abuse of office by Xeni Dimitriou, Greece’s top prosecutor since 2016.

The Appeals Court twice, in 2015 and 2017, acquitted Mr Georgiou of the preposterous charge that he deliberately falsified fiscal data for 2009 in order to inflict great harm on Greece. Both acquittals were annulled by the Supreme Court at the request of Ms Dimitriou.

I have studied the annulment report which Ms Dimitriou submitted in 2017 to the Supreme Court and found the following facts: 1. Ms Dimitriou suppresses overwhelming exculpatory evidence. For example, she does not inform the Supreme Court that all Greek governments since 2010, of whatever political orientation, have accepted as correct the fiscal data produced by ELSTAT under Mr Georgiou; and that ELSTAT produces fiscal data to this day according to the methodology introduced by Mr Georgiou in accordance with Greece’s obligations since becoming a member of the eurozone.

2. Ms Dimitriou alleges Mr Georgiou did great harm to Greece but she does not explain to the Supreme Court how such harm could have occurred. Not a single sentence in her report links Mr Georgiou’s alleged falsification to any damage done to Greece.

Both of these facts are evidence of prosecutorial misconduct.

Your readers will also be interested to know that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said the following on June 17, 2018 to German daily Die Welt: “We have never disputed that we respect [Georgiou’s] data,” and, “Should we be asked by a court to speak in his favor, we would do so.”

Greece must halt immediately its now seven-year-long judicial hounding of Mr Georgiou.

Sincerely,

Dr Eduard Brau, former director (1999-2004), now retired, Finance Department, International Monetary Fund

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