The Athens Misdemeanors Appeal Court on Tuesday handed a two-year sentence, suspended for three years, to former chief of Greece’s statistical service, ELSTAT, Andreas Georgiou.
The court did not recognize any mitigation and imposed the maximum sentence with the prosecutor’s assent.
The court found Georgiou was found guilty on one of three counts of breach of duty for taking the decision to revise Greece’s 2009 deficit figures without consulting with ELSTAT’s other board members.
He was cleared, however, of charges regarding the post he held at the International Monetary Fund while heading ELSTAT between August and November in 2010, and of consistently failing to convene ELSTAT’s board.
Earlier this month, Supreme Court prosecutor Xeni Dimitriou ordered the reopening of a case against Georgiou, after a council of appeals court judges ruled for a second time that he should not face charges.
In coming months, Greece’s Supreme Court is expected to rule over felony charges on “false certification” for allegedly presenting an inflated Greek deficit for 2009. The Court prosecutor had appealed against the second ruling in favor of Georgiou.
It was the second time that the country’s top prosecutor overturned an earlier ruling in favor of Georgiou, in a case that has become a touchstone for relations between Greece and its creditors.
Economist Andreas Georgiou,57, was appointed on 2 August 2010 as President of the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT).On 2 August 2015, he surprisingly resigned from office with immediate effect.
In July 2016, the Greek Supreme Court upheld charges against Georgiou for having harmed the “national interest”, with a possible sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
These charges have been widely criticized as spurious by numerous international statistical bodies and experts who have backed the accuracy and ethics of his work. As the Financial Times reported: “The case has sparked outrage from economists and statisticians worldwide who believe Mr. Georgiou has become a scapegoat for Greece’s political class.”
sources: kathimerini, in.gr, wikipedia
And the question arises: since this guy was put in a position of authority and was tasked to produce correct and reliable statistics, why would he want not to consult with the other members of the board? By the way, this consultation process was a legal obligation. Well, the court accepted that he did act unlawfully, therefore the decision. But the question remains: why would be bother to ignore the board? My answer: because he had something to hide, or some orders to obey. This leads to asking: whose orders? Maybe the conspiracy to bring down Greece after 2009 is not a theory but something very real after all?????
Maybe because the board and its members had been around all those years when Greece posted FAKE numbers to the EU, because the board members were corrupt and would have done everything in their powers to prevent the true numbers to be released as those numbers would have show their own corruption in faking the numbers all those years before?
Greek statistics prior to Georgiou were highly politicised and an international disgrace — and are still poor. As I was informed by another director of the NSSG in an interview in the early 2000s, up until 1999 there was not one professional statistician employed in the Statistical Service. This judgment marks out Greece as a Third World country where professional modernising forces are prosecuted and the unqualified state employees who do nothing are rewarded.
I dread to think what the consequences of this decision could be. The least is that no serious economist or statistician will ever agree to take a post within the Greek state system; the statistical service will continue to be second rate; and the Greek state will continue to know nothing reliably about the functioning of the economy.
The trolls are quick to comment today, no surprise. I especially love the claim that ELSTAT had no statisticians, which is real nonsense (note how polite I am). Bravo Iannis.
I do not appreciate being called a liar and troll in public. I suggest that Ms Tsigantes apologise for talking nonsense on something of which she knows nothing.
Does Mr Tsigantes really claim that the numbers Greek send to the EU before the crisis were correct? If yes, why was there suddenly a huge hole in the Greek finances in 2010?
And btw, how many members of the board that had approved year in year out the numbers in the timeframe of 2000-2010 have been prosecuted? Why are Mr. Georgious accusors, like Mrs. Zoe Georganta not investigated for her collusion in faking the Greek numbers in the pre-crisis years?