The Potemkin Village Still Stands - from Der Spiegel - "Prosecuting the Messenger: Chief Greek Statistician Threatened With Jail"
The hour was late, but Andreas Georgiou was still at his office last Friday evening. He sounded calm and poised, certain that he had done his duty. But Georgiou, 53, also sounded dumbfounded. "It strikes me as odd," he says, "that we are being prosecuted in a European Union member state for actually following European law."
When Georgiou decided in the summer of 2010 to take over leadership of the revamped, newly independent Greek statistics service ELSTAT, he never imagined that the position could land him a jail sentence. But at the end of January, felony charges were filed against Georgiou and two senior ELSTAT staffers for allegedly inflating the 2009 deficit. In other words, at a time when the rest of the world was furious that Greece had artificially improved the country's budget statistics, Greek prosecutors are accusing Georgiou of doing the opposite. Prosecutors acted after a 15-month investigation into allegations made by a former ELSTAT board member. If found guilty, Georgiou faces five to 10 years in prison.