Tuesday, 22 January 2013

ELSTAT chief to face felony charges over inflated Greek deficit in 2009

Greek economic prosecutors are seeking felony charges against the former president of the Greek Statistics Authority Andreas Georgiou over  upwards manipulation of the Greek deficit in 2009 and thus with the aim to push the country into the IMF bailout mechanism. Apart from Georgiou  felony charges are also to be raised against the head of Directorate for National Accounts, and the head of Special Department of Statistics Research.
The three are facing felony charges on the ground that they “artificially” revised the debt from 12% to 15.4% in 2009, so that stricter measures of fiscal adjustments should be imposed.
Georgiou and Co. are to face also misdemeanor offenses for ‘repeatdely dereliction of duty’ and ‘making false statements’.

At the same time, the prosecutors seek to identify the instigators of the deficit ‘cooking’ as well as the possible involvement of other people.
Because of the importance of the case, the case is to be investigated by the judge responsible for corruption cases.
The scandal of deficti revision broke in September 2011, when ex ELSTAT board member Zoi Georganta, professor for Econometrics at the University of Macedonia, spoke to several Greek media and claimed that Greece’s budget deficit underwent a upward revision in 2009 to 15.4% instead of 12.6% just to force Greece to take the harsh fiscal adjustment measures.
George Papaconstantinou, who was finance minister when Greece sought the IMF rescue, had replied to Georganta’s claims:
“Unfortunately for all, Greece’s budget deficit for 2009 was 15.4% of the GDP, as The EUROSTAT and the ELSTAT had officially announced.”
Georganta told a panel of MP’s last March, that the deficit for 2009 should have been 12.5 percent of GDP and it could have easily been brought to below 10 percent with immediate measures. Andreas Georgiou had denied the claims and had insisted that “ Greece’s accounting standards were simply brought in line with the demands of Eurostat, the European Commission’s statistics agency.”
Georganta and some other ELSTAT broad members were sacked by then Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos in September 2011. Investigation against Georgiou was opened at the end of November 2011, when Prime Minister George Papandroeu was forced out of the office and was replaced by ex banker Lucas Papademos.
The revision of deficit became known in April 2010, six months after Papandreou was elected Prime Minister and while the country as negotiating the bailout package with the IMF and the EU.
Last year, a parliamentary committee investigated possible involvement of then PM Papandreou and FinMin Papaconstantinou but the Parliament investigation did not show any evidence for ‘political responsibilities’.
PS No Greek politician has any responsibility ever… Did Georgiou & Co acted on their own initiatives? WOW!

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