Former IMF Employee And Greek Statistics Head Faces Life In Prison If Found Guilty Of Making Greece Look Uglier

Tyler Durden's picture

A few months ago we reported that unlike in any other Banana Republic, where the natural bias is to fudge one's numbers higher to make the economy look better and get the stock market to rise, in Greece even the traditional banana metrics are upside down. To wit: "Greek newspaper Eleftherotypia reports that according to a just terminated member of the Greek Statistical Authority, Greece artificially misrepresented its 2009 15.4% deficit number to Eurostat in order to obtain aid from the EU and IMF." Sure enough, two months later even this absolutely bizarre story has been confirmed. The FT reports that "The head of Elstat, Greece’s new independent statistics agency, faces an official criminal investigation for allegedly inflating the scale of the country’s fiscal crisis and acting against the Greek national interest." Not surprisingly, the man who allegedly cooked the books is none other than a 20 year former IMF employee: precisely the kind of guy who knows just what buttons to push to get the US-funded organization to dole out capital. "Andreas Georgiou, who worked at the International Monetary Fund for 20 years, was appointed in 2010 by agreement with the fund and the European Commission to clean up Greek statistics after years of official fudging by the finance ministry." And just because someone needs to be made a scapegoat, if convicted Georgiou may face the same sentence as Madoff: "Mr Georgiou is due to appear before Greece’s prosecutor for financial crime on December 12 to answer the charges. If convicted of “betraying the country’s interests”, he could face life imprisonment." Well, that's fine: the man should rot in hell for not learning that "minus" is not really "plus" - surely no greater ex-capital punishment crime exists. Yet we wonder - will the same life sentence follow all those others who are found to have betrayed their countries interest and inflated numbers higher thus not getting US taxpayer-funded bailouts? Because when it comes to Europe, it is now every many for himself (as the soon to be faded rumor du jour of a €600 billion IMF-funded bailout of Italy confirms)... all the way to Joe Sixpack's wallet.

More from the FT:

“I am being prosecuted for not cooking the books,” Mr Georgiou told the Financial Times. “We would like to be a good, boring institution doing its job. Unfortunately, in Greece statistics is a combat sport.”


The investigation follows a public dispute over the 2009 budget deficit figure. Under Mr Georgiou, the figure was revised upwards from 13.4 per cent to 15.8 per cent of gross domestic product – a record for a eurozone member state. The revised figure was accepted without reservation by Eurostat, the Brussels statistical service.


The prosecutor cites a claim by professor Zoe Georganta, a senior statistician who was sacked along with other members of Elstat’s board by Evangelos Venizelos, the finance minister, earlier this year. According to Ms Georganta, the 2009 deficit was exaggerated by Elstat “so it would become larger than that of Ireland and Greece would be forced to adopt painful austerity measures”.


Elstat was established in August 2010 in an attempt to bring Greek statistics into line with EU standards. Before then, a committee of finance ministry and central bank officials came up with an annual budget deficit figure to be reported to Eurostat, based on numbers provided by the government statistics office. The finance minister was personally responsible for approving the final figure.


Since Elstat was set up, Eurostat has dropped its warnings about the reliability of Greek data on the public finances – formerly a regular footnote in Commission statistical reports. According to revised Eurostat data, Greece would have failed even to gain admission to the eurozone in 2001 because its deficit was too large.

Oh please: the guy is former IMF brass - if anyone wanted to get him thrown in jail, he would simply need to crash at the presidential suite at the Sofitel New York for one day and the rest is history.

Yet with all the we wonder: there is hardly any doubt that the latest Greek deficit numbers which probably are in the 20%+ area are fake. So had Greece not received the incremental funding and loans that this misrepresentation supposedly facilitated, just how much worse off would Greece be (after all recall that under the Keynesian canon any spending always and forever equals a boost in GDP). So, uh, shouldn't Georgiou really be preparing for his sainthood ceremony instead of wondering if he will spend the rest of his life in jail?

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Temporalist's picture

"Don't blame the mirror because you are ugly" - Kyle Bass

Michael's picture

So we should throw President Clinton in jail for doing the same right?

"Why the Method for Figuring the Unemployment Rate Was Changed
Bill Clinton was interested in legacies early on in his presidency. By changing the official unemployment formula to sweep away the so called discouraged workers, he attained a record low unemployment level not seen in decades. The reason for his changing the official unemployment calculation formula had a lot to do with “the economy stupid,” as he was fond of saying. He wanted the numbers to look better than they actually were."

Long-John-Silver's picture

I knew when they instituted New Math when I was in elementary school it's intended purpose was never what my Government Paid Teacher said it was for.


TrulyBelieving's picture

Not defending Clinton, but recalculating the unemployment rate(for whatever reason) is not the same as intentionally falsifying ledger sheets, which is obviously a crime.

Iwanttoknow's picture

Michael,its ok when our Prez does it,not the pesky greeks.

Michael's picture

I don't see how this could be seen by intelligent people as anything except sheeple being fucked up the ass by the POTUS.

AngryGerman's picture

* UPDATE: Georgiou to commence new position as Chief European Economist at Goldman Sachs

* Georgiou says happy he could serve his country and Europe

* Georgiou says looking forward to raping European taxpayers one-by-one,  as part of his new position at GS

stopcpdotcom's picture

Greece is now effectively a province of the EU, run by an EU satrap.

Mae Kadoodie's picture

Statisics and Greece in the same sentence are an oxymoron.

DeadFred's picture

I'm sure they'll find it was all caused by a rogue Nigerian statistician.

wee-weed up's picture

There are no statisticians in Nigeria - only barristers.


Should have put more lipstick on that pig. 

holdbuysell's picture

Tempest in a teapot. It doesn't change the fact that Europe is bankrupt.

apberusdisvet's picture

How about all the politicians and technocrats who have effectively ceded their nation's sovereignty to the criminals? A pencil-pusher, even one at a high level, is chump change.

Smithovsky's picture

Too bad he was working for the Greek Statistical Authority and not for the squid - instead of a prison sentence he'd have received a huge bonus.  

nmewn's picture

Beware of Greeks bearing stats.

gdogus erectus's picture

Wait - you can put a plus sign on the data and be a hero but put a minus sign on it and BAM.  Life.  Seems reasonable.  Carry on.  PS:  I hope to God this does not mean my crappy socialist LEAP Newsletter was correct in claiming that all this talk of Europe collapsing is nothing more than a distraction to the problems here in the US.  Those morons don't realize that this is all a scripted takedown and someone decided that Europe goes first.

JustObserving's picture

Would like to see Tim Geithner get life in prison for fudging US statistics for years.  He will probably get the Presidential Medal of Freedom

Hober Mallow's picture

The ones that should go to jail are all the pensioners below the age of 65.

MS7's picture

IMF employees get pensions at age 50.

Caviar Emptor's picture

I am being prosecuted for not cooking the books,” 

From now on all economic data will be calculated and released by the Ministry of Secret Police. We must always remember that we are living in a Utopian State. 

chump666's picture

C'mon Germany get off your a-holes and finally kick that ridicules Greek economy out of the EU


Stormdancer's picture

Just another chapter in the story read here first in early 2010.  You know the one...Goldman, Greek finance officialdom and Titlos, PLC.   Back when all those Goldmanites and Greek traitors went to jail for setting up a complex bunch of off balance sheet currency swaps to hide the true level of Greek indebtedness.  Oh...wait...

To paraphrase a poster from above:

"Greece is now effectively a province of the EU, rammed by an EU strap-on."

stopcpdotcom's picture

"Greece is now effectively a province of the EU, rammed by an EU strap-on."


I am Jobe's picture

Very Kinky. I wonder if the Greeks might feel the same way

Smithovsky's picture

Greece was the cradle of Western civilization and they seem intent on becoming the coffin as well.  

I am Jobe's picture

I wonder if the FEDS will be admitting to this as well. Interesting. How about Hari Kari for these bastards.

Milestones's picture

Hari Kari was as I recall was an act of extreme contrition by those who used it. I'd settle for a taste of what Joan of Arc got.     Milestones 

FranSix's picture

'Every many' for himselve.  Just as I thoughmt.

Absalon's picture

If a bank helps a borrower structure a transaction so that the borrower's financial statements are materially misleading and the bank knows that is the intended purpose of the transaction the banker is (in my humble view) an accessory to a crime and should go to prison. 

If the rules permit such transactions then shame on the rule makers and shame on the banker and the borrower for gaming the rules.

Milestones's picture

The act of deception is at the very heart of the act of fraud and in most states it is a felony. Shh--don't let D.A.'s know that. Any D.A. who does not prosecute these acts can and should be disbarred along with all attorny's who do so.      Milestones

SilverIsKing's picture

This guy will walk or have an accident.

Lord Welligton's picture

Unfortunately, in Greece statistics is a combat sport.

Says it all really.


bob_dabolina's picture

The IMF is arguably the most important organization regarding global stability. I shudder to think where the world would be without this organization

bob_dabolina's picture

Bro, read the comment again. Nothing I said was IMF positive. 

The IMF is arguably the most important organization regarding global stability (in that it increases instability) 

I shudder to think about how prosperous the world would be without it. 

People jump to conclusions so quickly, stop being so ignorant and take a minute to think about something you read before gunning at the hip with meaningless ad hominem attacks. 

SilverIsKing's picture

The issue with what you wrote has to do with the fact that you "shudder to think". By saying that, you are implying that you feel the world would be worse off without the IMF.

Absalon's picture

Stop trying to be clever or arch or sarcastic.  You should have just said what you meant in the first place.

bob_dabolina's picture

I did.

Next time I'll use crayons.

Absalon's picture

People don't want to spend a bunch of time trying to decipher what you really mean. 

Milestones's picture

You baited your original statement based on your reply. That was a cheap shot. Frankly , ny reply would have been along the same lines. 

That left a bad taste in my mouth. Be straight up and straight out on what you say.       Milestones

Piranhanoia's picture

So he gets blamed for doing to the Euro what they are doing to Greece?  To benefit his own country?  Under orders?

They'll punish him with an island.  

AldoHux_IV's picture

A vast majority of central bankers, bankers, IMF employees, Worldbank employees, and politicians should be jailed for life for not working in the best interest of the world economy and enslaving us under odious debt i.e. control of the very few.

Bring these horrible immoral policymakers and technocrats to justice.

non_anon's picture

ha ha, give me another tab

gnomon's picture

Puzzle this:

If everyone in the world is now a grifter, do we need a new word or a new species?

Smithovsky's picture

Lipstick should only be put on PIIGS, not taken off them.  

Rip van Wrinkle's picture

To be 'suicided'.


There is no chance this muppet is going to get to court. Sees too much, hears too much they'll make damn sure he doesn't speak too much.

b_thunder's picture

Are they going to put on trial those bureaucrats who in 2000-2003 together with Goldman Sachs made Greek debt appear smaller than it really was?

It's becasue of them that Greece was allowed to adopt the Euro and that was the root-cause of their present problems?