Statistics chief gets chance to give evidence

Several months after he was informed he was being treated as a suspect in a probe into the alleged inflation of Greece?s 2009 public deficit figure, the head of the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), Andreas Georgiou, has finally been given the chance to tell his side of the story.

Georgiou, who denies claims by two former ELSTAT officials that the deficit statistics were manipulated to justify Greece asking for a bailout, submitted a 110-page deposition to financial prosecutor Grigoris Peponis on Wednesday.

According to sources, Georgiou insisted that the calculations were made under the strict oversight of the European Commission?s statistical arm, Eurostat.

Georgiou suggested that Eurostat and Commission officials be called to give evidence.

Georgiou also submitted documents he claims prove he took on his duties in August 2010, three months after Greece signed a loan agreement with the EU and International Monetary Fund, at which point the deficit had already been calculated at 13.6 percent of GDP. It later rose to 15.4 percent.