Thursday, 14 February 2013

Honesty can land you in jail in Greece

I wrote before about Greece, how they qualified to the EU by fudging the numbers and how Goldman Sachs made a truckload of money by helping doing this.

The following is from an article in The Spiegel:

He was hired to bring Greece's debt statistics in line with European norms. Now, chief statistician Andreas Georgiou faces jail time for allegedly producing inflated budget deficit numbers. He says he was merely being honest, and he has plenty of support in Europe.

When Georgiou decided in the summer of 2010 to take over leadership of the revamped, newly independent Greek statistics service ELSTAT, he never imagined that the position could land him a jail sentence. But at the end of January, felony charges were filed against Georgiou and two senior ELSTAT staffers for allegedly inflating the 2009 deficit. In other words, at a time when the rest of the world was furious that Greece had artificially improved the country's budget statistics, Greek prosecutors are accusing Georgiou of doing the opposite. Prosecutors acted after a 15-month investigation into allegations made by a former ELSTAT board member. If found guilty, Georgiou faces five to 10 years in prison.

At stake in the ELSTAT case is more than the credibility of a senior statistician, one who previously worked for 20 years at the International Monetary Fund. The entire bailout of Greece was based on the numbers provided by ELSTAT on the deficit figures for 2009 onwards.

Malaysia has it's own case with the chief economist of Bank Islam being suspended, days after he gave a lecture predicting different scenario's of the coming election, some of which involved the opposition winning.

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