Sunday, November 27, 2011

Greece’s statistics chief faces criminal probe

Financial Times
November 27, 2011

The head of Elstat, Greece’s new independent statistics agency, faces an official criminal investigation for allegedly inflating the scale of the country’s fiscal crisis and acting against the Greek national interest.

Andreas Georgiou, who worked at the International Monetary Fund for 20 years, was appointed in 2010 by agreement with the fund and the European Commission to clean up Greek statistics after years of official fudging by the finance ministry.

I am being prosecuted for not cooking the books,” Mr Georgiou told the Financial Times. “We would like to be a good, boring institution doing its job. Unfortunately, in Greece statistics is a combat sport.”

The accusations against him, which are likely to shock European Union officials, come as eurozone finance ministers prepare to decide on Tuesday whether to release a delayed €8bn ($10.6bn) loan tranche to Athens, needed to pay public sector salaries and pensions next month. Over the past 18 months rows about the size of the Greek deficit have strained relations between Greece’s finance ministry and its international creditors.


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