I imagine that Supreme Court prosecutor Xeni Dimitriou knows exactly how large Greece’s deficit was in 2009 (something that apparently even Eurostat does not know) and that is why she asked for the country’s highest court to overturn a decision clearing the former head of the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), Andreas Georgiou, from having to face felony charges for allegedly making a false official certification.
The fact that the Supreme Court accepted Dimitriou’s appeal suggests that her explanatory report contained a specific number for the 2009 deficit. As professor of constitutional law Stavros Tsakyrakis pointed out in an article on Tuesday, when one person accuses another of making a false certification it means that they must know the truth, especially when the other person faces felony charges.
The thinking behind the professor’s argument is not wrapped up in some complex legal thinking, it is simply based on common sense. “Some civil servant officially certifies as fact one thing, when the truth is another. However, if you do not know what the truth is, you clearly cannot make a judgment on what is false,” he writes. “The charge sheet, therefore, has to contain the true event that was supposedly falsely certified. If it doesn’t, then the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Appeals Court verdict is a scandal. Its sole purpose appears to be to satisfy the most backward citizens who continue to believe that some bad guys conspired against them and created the crisis.”
However, putting aside any legal and logical inconsistencies, there is also a human dimension to this case which has received hardly any mention: For the past five years, Georgiou has been dealt the fate of Josef K in Kafka’s “The Trial.” And this is happening out of the whim of certain political and judicial circles who are eager to demonstrate (after all, they are not really able to prove) to the public that everything was in order by 2009 until that Michigan-educated economist decided to cook the books and inflated deficit numbers.
Little do they care if Eurostat has praised his work and if, for the first time, the figures of ELSTAT are now released without footnotes. ANEL leader Panos Kammenos will still seek to defame him in Parliament. And little do they care if all Greek governments (including the existing coalition) and international organizations rely on ELSTAT statistics. Dimitriou was recently promoted by the SYRIZA-ANEL administration and she will appeal the decision to clear Georgiou.
Too bad Zola is not around to repeat his “J’Accuse,” this time about the adventures of a man who left the United States only to be caught up in the Greek net of political expediency. On the other hand, such a letter would hardly strike a chord with a government that lacks any sense of decency.
Published at ekathimerini.gr 4.8.2016