ASA Continues Support of Former Greek Statistician, Questions Integrity of Greek Government

The ASA penned a new letter of support for the former president of the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), Andreas Georgiou, who continues to fight charges and pointless prosecutions for producing accurate official statistics that revised prior misleading and inaccurate debt and deficit figures. The letter urges all necessary actions be taken to avoid undermining the credibility of Greek statistics, calls for all charges to be dropped against Georgiou and other official statisticians, and questions the government’s integrity by not adhering to prior Eurozone financial agreements.

On August 1, Georgiou was convicted for breach of duty and given a two-year sentence. He was acquitted of these same charges in December 2016. The ASA issued a statement expressing outrage over the conviction and continued its pledge of support for Georgiou. In July, Greece’s Supreme Court prosecutor proposed to reopen a case accusing Georgiou of complicity against the state—charges of which he was acquitted by the Council of the Appeals Court in July 2015. The ASA also reached out to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in a letter last March.

“Should the reopened case proceed to trial, it would amount to triple jeopardy,” noted ASA President Barry D. Nussbaum, ASA Executive Director Ron Wasserstein, and ASA Committee on Scientific Freedom and Human Rights chair Robin Mejia in the new letter dated September 1.

“Also of deep concern,” they continued, “Greece appears to have shown a lack of integrity in its July agreement with its Eurozone partners to accept its third disbursement for 8.5 billion euro.” A supplemental memorandum of understanding stipulated Greece would pay for the legal defense costs of official statisticians, such as Georgiou, prosecuted for decisions made and actions taken pursuant to carrying out their official duties. Yet, legislation enacted by Greece’s government does not adhere to that requirement.

For more unique perspective from Georgiou, read his personal interview in Significance magazine.