Athens Misdemeanors’ Appeal Court court has found that Andreas Georgiou, the country’s former statistics chief has breached his duties after he failed to leave the International Monetary Fund (IMF) post he held for 21 years before he joined Greece’ official statistics service ELSTAT.
The Athens prosecutor also recommended that Georgiou should face charges, as he failed to consult ELSTAT’s resulting in the decision on the revised 2009 deficit figures being taken without the agreement of the other members, handing him a suspended jail sentence of two years, after Greece’s Supreme Court Prosecutor Xeni Dimitriou ordered the reopening of a case earlier this month.
The two-year sentence was handed to Georgiou for failing to hold regular monthly board meetings to keep board members informed of his decisions. Georgiou halted the monthly meetings after a police investigation revealed that his work computer had been hacked by ELSTAT’s deputy chairman and his emails shared with other board members.
A spokeswoman for the European Commission’s Financial issues Annika Breidthardt noted that the recent court judgment that got published on Tuesday, was “not in line” with Mr. Georgiou’s previous acquittal on the same charges. “The independence of statistical offices in our member states is a key pillar the proper functioning of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), this is why it is protected by EU law. We take note of the specific ruling which we note that is not in line with the previous ruling in the previous procedure. We understand that today’s ruling is open for appealing on legal grounds before the Greek Supreme Court. We have full confidence in the reliability and accuracy of ELSTAT data during 2010-2015 and beyond,” said the EU executive spokeswoman.
“We underlined the importance of the independence of ELSTAT as a key commitment under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding of the Program,” concluded Breidthardt. The European Commission, along with Greece’s creditors have tried to persuade the SYRIZA-AnEl government that the years-long prosecutions Georgiou risk undermining the political independence of Greek statistics.