ATHENS - Despite an international outcry he’s being persecuted for refusing falsify data, a conviction for the former head of Greece’s statistics agency ELSTAT Andreas Georgiou was upheld by the criminal section of the Supreme Court, dismissing an appeal to overturn it.
A lower court had handed down a suspended sentence to Georgiou in August 2017, finding him guilty of not getting approval by the then board of ELSTAT before transmitting the 2009 deficit figures to Eurostat - which backed his reporting, as have US and international statistics agency who said he’s the victim of government witch hunts trying to deflect the real blame for the country’s economic crisis and need for international bailouts.
Georgiou will also face for the third time charges over accusations he falsified budget data to justify a first bailout of 110 billion euros ($129.6 billion) in 2010 when the former PASOK Socialists in power.
He has already been cleared twice in judgments by the Council of Appeals Court Judges but with no double jeopardy laws successive governments, now the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA, keep coming after him.
Recruited from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), one of the country’s creditors, to try to straighten out a statistics agency with a reputation for mismanagement, he returned to the US where he now lives but has repeatedly declared his innocence and said he’s wrongfully being pursued.
Criminal charges of making a false statement were first brought against Georgiou in 2013 after members of the then existing board for ELSTAT accused Georgiou and other ELSTAT statisticians of artificially inflating Greek budget figures in 2009 but there’s evidence of any wrongdoing by him.