Inflated statistics probe goes to Parl't

Claims that Greece’s 2009 public deficit was artificially inflated by members of the Socialist government that came to power at the end of that year are to be investigated by lawmakers after Deputy Supreme Court prosecutor Nikos Pantelis forwarded the case to Parliament on Wednesday. MPs will be asked to probe whether former Prime Minister George Papandreou and ex-Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou were guilty in any way, in keeping with the law that requires any allegations of wrongdoing by ministers to be investigated by Parliament. Financial prosecutor Grigoris Peponis delivered the results of his initial probe into the alleged wrongdoing to the Supreme Court on January 20. The investigation was launched following allegations made last September by Zoe Georganta, a former employee of the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT). Shortly after her dismissal from ELSTAT, Georganta claimed that 2009 deficit data had been artificially inflated from around 12-13 percent to 15.4 percent of gross domestic product. She maintained that European officials wanted Greece to show a greater deficit than Ireland in order to justify application for a rescue package and the corresponding austerity measures.

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