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Sunday, 27 November 2011

Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes

The head of Elstat, Greece’s new independent statistics agency, faces an official criminal investigation.  According to reports, he is alleged to have overstated the extent of the country’s fiscal crisis and acting against the Greek national interest.  All of which is likely a question of opinion.

Andreas Georgiou had worked at the International Monetary Fund for 20 years, and he must have thought he was onto a cushy number back at home when he 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.

If he is convicted for telling the true but bad news Mr Georgiou could face life imprisonment.  If that sounds bad, remember that Jeff Skilling got 24 years, Ken Lay died before sentencing and Andrew Fastow went down for 6 years. In fact in sentencing terms this is way beyond Millken and Boesky territory, past Bernie Ebbers and Dennis Kozlowski, and right up there with Bernie Madoff.

All for "true and fair" accounting.  But what do you expect from an unelected government?

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