Former EL.STAT board member testifies in 2009 deficit furor

Former Hellenic Statistical Authority (EL.STAT) board member Zoi Georganta on Monday testified for six hours before two prosecutors within the framework of an investigation into allegations that Greece’s state deficit for 2009 was intentionally inflated.
Georganta, professor of econometrics, appeared before First Instant Court Prosecutor Popi Papandreou in the presence of Financial Prosecutor Grigoris Peponis, who is investigating the case to establish whether her allegations are standing and to determine if criminal violations were committed. 
The entire EL.STAT board, sans its chairman but including Georganta, was ordered to resign by Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos in a surprise decision earlier in the month.
According to reports, Georganta testified that the upward revision was made possible by including expenditures from public utilities in the general government spending, stressing that some of those public utilities companies are now included in the personnel redundancy programme applied via the labour reserve measure.
Georganta maintained that this method is in conflict with the Eurostat practices considering that studies and statistical calculations that are deemed as imperative and should have taken place in advance were never held in the controversial wider public sector companies.

Former EL.STAT vice-president Nikos Logothetis will also be summoned to testify. Logothetis has made similar accusations as regards the 2009 deficit via a memo he had forwarded to the prosecutor’s office. He is also facing felony charges for violation of personal data protection after EL.STAT President Andreas Georgiou accused him of hacking into his email account.

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