Venizelos denies report he asked Asmussen to ‘reorganize’ fiscal gap figures [Update]

German newspaper Die Zeit has reported that Deputy Prime Minister Evangelos Venizelos asked European Central Bank executive board member Joerg Asmussen if it was possible to “reorganize” figures so Greece’s fiscal gap for 2015 and 2016 appears smaller than it actually it is.

The report was denied by Venizelos’s office. A spokesman told CNBC that it was “totally untrue.”

A Die Zeit journalist, Jana Simon, accompanied Asmussen on a visit to Athens in August and describes how the ECB official was outraged by Venizelos’s reported request.

“For Asmussen, these words characterize the old Greece and outdated, inefficient systems for which he fundamentally has no understanding,” the newspaper reported.

On Friday, Venizelos’s office issued a response to the allegations, saying that they are “totally inaccurate” and demanding an official denial of the Die Zeit report by Asmussen and the ECB.

Market News International later quoted a spokesman from the ECB as saying “the article is not correct on that point, but we will not discuss details of internal talks.”

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