Ex-ELSTAT chief Georgiou decries charges over 2009 deficit data

Ex-ELSTAT chief Georgiou decries charges over 2009 deficit data

The former head of the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), Andreas Georgiou, has hit out at the Supreme Court’s recent decision that he should face felony charges for allegedly tampering with Greece’s 2009 deficit figure to justify a bailout by the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Georgiou, who resigned as head of ELSTAT last year, suggested that he is being unfairly persecuted.

“I feel that I’m living in a paradoxical world where everything is standing on its head … Those who produce reliable statistics that have been validated many times over by international institutions are persecuted while those who oppose them and were responsible for the fraudulent statistics in the past go unchallenged,” he told the FT by telephone from his home in the US.

Georgiou also argued that the constant questioning of official economic data has implications for the rest of the European Union and could affect Greece’s attempts to secure debt relief from its eurozone creditors.

“If national officials cannot keep accurate statistics without fear of being dragged for years through the courts, the integrity of the EU and its economic system is critically undermined,” he said.

“If the calculation of the government debt is judged to be wrong, can there be any discussion on debt sustainability and debt alleviation for Greece by the European partners?” he said. “It’s not logical … the prudent thing would be to settle all this.”

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