The former head of the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) was found guilty of breach of faith by an appeals court in Athens, in what is seen as the latest chapter of a legal saga that has gone on for a few years. Andreas Georgiou, who was appointed to the post of Chief of Greece’s official statistics agency in 2010, was accused of intentionally inflating the 2009 deficit figures, so as to justify the country’s referral to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which in turn engineered the bailout programme which took effect in May 2010.
He stepped down from his position in 2015, when the left wing Syriza party came to power. The court’s verdict was based on the fact that he did not brief ELSTAT’s board of directors on the transfer of data – in November 2010 – concerning the ballooning state deficit of 2009.
The case has drawn international attention, as many see his legal persecution as a ‘witch hunt’. The court gave Georgiou the maximum sentence of two years for the misdemeanour, but acquitted him of other misdemeanour charges i.e. not convening ELSTAT’s board in a timely manner, and of retaining a position with the IMF in tandem with presiding over the country’s statistical service.
The Former ELSTAT head still faces another legal battle over a charge of felony perjury, a case that has found its way to Greece’s supreme court after a high court prosecutor last month quashed another appellate council’s acquittal of the charge.