The transcript of Dialogos Radio’s interview with journalist and whistleblower Nikos Logothetis, a former member of the board of the Greek Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) turned whistleblower. This interview aired on our broadcasts for the week of November 8-14, 2017. Find the podcast of this interview here.
MN: Joining us today on Dialogos Radio and the Dialogos Interview Series is Nikos Logothetis, former board member of the Greek Statistical Authority ELSTAT, who will speak with us today about the background and current status of the well-known case regarding the augmentation of Greece’s deficit figures, which provided the impetus to impose austerity politics in Greece. Mr. Logothetis, welcome back to our program.
NL: Thank you Mr. Nevradakis, nice to hear from you.
MN: Let’s begin with a discussion about Andreas Georgiou, the embattled former president of ELSTAT who oversaw the augmentation of the Greek deficit and debt. Describe for us Georgiou’s background prior to taking on the role of president of ELSTAT. Was Georgiou even a statistician?
NL: No, he wasn’t. The operation of the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT), as a continuation of the initial National Statistical Authority, as we called it, officially began in late June of 2010. This was the time that the members of ELSTAT’s management board were selected and approved by the conference of the parliament presidents, with a vote majority of four-fifths.
Georgiou has been working in the International Monetary Fund since the late 1980s. For a few years before he came to Greece, he was deputy head of a division of the IMF’s statistics department, the financial institutions divisions. However, the Ministry of Finance announced the appointment of ELSTAT’s board of directors through a press release to all Greek newspapers. In that press release, it presented Georgiou as deputy head of the entire IMF statistics department, a very big department in the IMF and a very important one, hiding his actual organizational position in the IMF, an economic nature position rather than a statistical nature position, in a subordinate division of the statistics department.
Obviously, the objective of the Minister of Finance then was to present him as an experienced statistician with a significant management position at the IMF, who supposedly left America and came here to “save” Greece by putting in order all its statistics. In fact, this gentleman was not only unable to run an important institutions such as ELSTAT, with over 1,000 employees, but he wasn’t even a statistician, with no academic publications and no knowledge of statistics.
Moreover, for at least six months after assuming the ELSTAT presidency, Georgiou still held his organizational position at the IMF, something that was explicitly forbidden by ELSTAT’s founding law, 3832/2010. It was explicitly forbidden.
MN: We are on the air with Nikos Logothetis, former board member of the Greek Statistical Authority ELSTAT, here on Dialogos Radio and the Dialogos Interview Series. What were the actions which were undertaken by Georgiou as president of ELSTAT? In other words, how were the Greek deficit and debt figures manipulated and in what other ways were Greece’s official economic figures altered?
NL: First of all, Georgiou’s first moves were to remove from the other members of the board any ability and initiative to propose discussion topics or to be involved in the calculation of the deficit or the debt. They were forbidden even to communicate with the remaining staff of ELSTAT! This behavior of Georgiou was not only due to his inability to act as a manager, but also due to the fact that he understood from the very beginning, even from the second meeting of the board in September 2010, our refusal to adopt the deficit and debt calculation procedures he wanted to follow. He knew that eventually the majority of the board members would not approve his deficit figures to be officially published before the end of October 2010.
Shortly afterward, after the last meeting of the board in early October 2010, the final silencing of the whole board followed and we were never convened again, thus leaving the way free for Georgiou, always under the auspices of senior Eurostat executives, on the one hand to change the founding the law—as he always wanted, to turn ELSTAT into one-person authority—and on the other hand, to inflate the 2009 figures. Exactly how he did this became clear later, but we had suspected soon enough what he was going to do.
My first disagreement with him was when I realized he would add on the deficit figures and on the national debt of Greece the Simitis swaps, that is, the swaps that Simitis had made use of in 2001 in order for Greece to get accepted to the Eurozone. Allow me here, Mr. Nevradakis, if you don’t mind, to briefly explain what these swaps are, as they indicate clearly an activity typical of the statistical mishandlings that had always been used and are still taking place in our country, every time the government’s leaders want to achieve something that aims in communication or financial benefits for themselves or for third parties. Swaps are a type of a bond, a banking derivative or simply a stock exchange bet, a bet of currency exchange. Many countries or people who have a personal debt do it, after having a loan, for example. Even now they are doing it, converting their existing debt into currencies of other countries, say in Swiss francs or Japanese yen, betting that the value of that currency will rise and at the maturity of this debt, the owner will gain from the difference in the value of currencies.
In a way, what happened at that time is that much of Greece’s debt was converted into yen, but at a price that the yen had in 1995, which was higher than that of 2001! Remember, the swaps were made in 2001, but the price of the yen in 1995 was the one used for this swap. We can put a big question mark here because I don’t know how legitimate this was, to consider as valid the exchange value of the yen of six years ago. But anyway, this was what happened. From this action, we were theoretically winning an amount of 2.8 billion euros, which again theoretically reduced our debt by this amount, and also the annual deficit below 3 percent, thus meeting the requirement of the Maastricht Treaty for our entry into the Eurozone. But let us not forget, however, that this was a bet, let’s say a stock exchange bond with a starting and a maturity date. Its expiration time was in 30 years, and at that time, there was no European regulation that could apply in order to cash in this swap before its maturity. As a result, your debts go up or down.
However, Mr. [Walter] Radermacher, the general director of Eurostat, the statistical authority of Europe at the time of Georgiou, decides only for Greece and only for that time and while the value of the yen had collapsed, that this swap value to be included in our total debt, thus raising our national debt by 21 billion euros because of the losses of the Yen. This was the loss incurred by the collapse of the Yen at that time. So we found ourselves with an additional fiscal debt of 21 billion euros. Now, Radermacher’s additional act was to instruct Georgiou to divide this amount by four and to include what came out of it in the deficits of the years 2009, 2008, 2007, and 2006. So eventually, for 2009 and all the three previous years, we found ourselves with an additional deficit of about 5.5 billion euros. But I’m pointing out again that swaps should not be used in any way before their maturity, in order to influence negatively or positively the fiscal debt, let alone the yearly deficit.
Another illegal swelling of our deficit made by Georgiou included the addition of 3.6 billion euros in hospital costs that were not even approved by the Court of Auditors. The Court of Auditors is one of the three institutions of Greek justice, along with the Supreme Court and the Council of State. Anyway, that was not approved by the Court of Auditors. This cost, as it turned out later, no one committed to it and no one was paying for it. And finally, the major swelling of the budget deficit was accomplished by the overnight inclusion of the deficits of 17 public utilities, violating many Eurostat criteria and rules. That alone added 18.2 billion euros, equivalent to 20 billion dollars, to the fiscal debt of Greece.
As a result of all the above, Greece ended up with a huge deficit for the year 2009, of 36 billion euros, or equivalently, 15.4 percent of gross domestic product. This legitimated the first memorandum, paved the way for the second and worse memorandum, and justified the imposition of these cumbersome austerity measures, such as the pension cuts and the tax increases, huge tax increases, measures that we are still suffering today.
MN: Dominique Strauss-Kahn himself, the former president of the International Monetary Fund, has gone on the record as saying that he met with George Papandreou to discuss an IMF so-called “bailout” of Greece in April 2009. This was several months before Papandreou was elected as prime minister and at a time when Papandreou was saying, while campaigning, that plenty of money existed to fund the social programs he was promising to Greek voters. Do you believe that the economic “crisis” in Greece was pre-ordained or pre-planned?
NL: Yes, I do. In my opinion, joining these medieval memoranda that have brought about this economic crisis that Greece is still experiencing, was beyond any doubt pre-planned and pre-determined. This arises not only from Strauss-Kahn’s own admission, I think in a TV interview, that the IMF has been preparing every detail for this with Papandreou, it also arises for many reasons that subsequently became known, that Greece was chosen by the designers of the European Union to become the guinea pig, an example to be avoided, in the context of a new economic policy for handling the member countries with fiscal problems.
Indeed, the policy of the memoranda gave the opportunity not only to the IMF to put a foot in Europe—until then its activities always were, with devastating consequences, limited to developing countries in Africa and Latin America—they took that opportunity, but also gave the opportunity to the French and German banks to get rid of their so-called toxic bonds, that were loaded onto the Greek people by turning a private debt into a state debt.
In order to achieve all of this of course, they had to plant the appropriate person in ELSTAT at a time when certain statistical adjustments were required, in order to support their treacherous plan. Where did this lead eventually? To the consolidation and time extension of Greek state bankruptcy.
MN: We are speaking with Nikos Logothetis, former board member of the Greek Statistical Authority ELSTAT, here on Dialogos Radio and the Dialogos Interview Series. From what I understand, Andreas Georgiou is no longer in Greece, despite the fact that various legal cases and judicial decisions are outstanding against him. Where does Georgiou find himself today and what is he presently involved with?
NL: He’s away, because he knows what he’s faced with, with trials and legal cases. Georgiou is currently in his comfortable villa in Maryland. He left Greece in the summer of 2015, one month before the end of his five-year term as ELSTAT chairman. Coincidentally, this was shortly after the call from the house of Parliament to testify in the examination committee that had been formed at that time to investigate the reasons for our ascension to the first memorandum. He never came to the examination room, pretending to be in the hospital with “pneumonia.” Who on earth has ever heard of a pneumonia case in the middle of the Greek summer?
Anyway, immediately after his “discharge” from the hospital, he left for America, I repeat, one month before the end of his term and without requesting a renewal of the presidency position for another five years. He could do that, but he didn’t, apparently having realized that he could not have avoided the imminent court hearing about the prosecutions for breach of duty and for the felony of inflating the deficit figures, which in the legal language is expressed as “felony of false certification at the expense of the state” together with the “aggravating order for public abusers,” a very impressive legal phrase. This is a legal category that leads to life imprisonment.
I presume at this time that he’s engaged in preparing his defense, through statements via his lawyers in Greece, with him being absent, missing from every trial that has taken place about him.
MN: A few months ago Georgiou was found guilty by the Greek justice system. What were the charges for which Georgiou was convicted and sentenced?
NL: There are two convictions he had this year. In March, Georgiou, in a criminal court, was convicted irrevocably for libel and for written defamation, and he was given one year imprisonment with a three year suspension, in the first instance of that verdict. He appealed through his lawyers, but the penal court of appeals condemned Georgiou again, giving him the same sentence as in the first instance. Georgiou’s crime was that in an official ELSTAT news release, Georgiou accused Dr. Nicholas Stroblos of being a statistical swindler, obviously trying to divert guilt from himself for statistical fraud. I’m pointing out here that Dr. Stroblos is the former director of the national accounts department of ELSTAT, whom Georgiou illegally replaced with one of his now co-defendants. Consequently, Dr. Stroblos sued him in both criminal and civil courts for this, and apart from the one year imprisonment conviction by the criminal court, the civil court fined Georgiou 10,000 euros for false character damages.
His most recent conviction is concerned with one of the three accusations included in the prosecution for breach of duty. The first accusation was related to the fact that he was in parallel for several months, from July to November 2010, as head of the statistical authority in Greece but also as an employee of the IMF, a duplication of employment explicitly prohibited by ELSTAT’s founding law 3832. The law demanded him to work exclusively and with full employment in the ELSTAT board. In this way, Georgiou deluded the Greek parliament about his ongoing post with the IMF—and note that the IMF is one of the lenders of Greece—while at the same time he had accepted the post of the chair for ELSTAT’s board. He would not have been selected as ELSTAT president, not even as a simple member of the board, had the parliament known about his double post.
The second accusation was concerned with the fact that he did not convene the ELSTAT board for a whole year, violating the law which required meetings at least once a month. The third accusation, and the most important of all three, was concerned with the fact that the decision to endorse the revised figures for 2009’s deficit was taken only by him, without the agreement of the other members of the board, which had been selected, I remind you, and approved exactly for this purpose by the conference of the parliamentary presidents with a majority of four-fifths. For this accusation, he was convicted in the context of breach of duty, and this had to do with the publication of deficit figures without our approval, as required by law. Georgiou appealed to the Supreme Court for this conviction, and we are waiting to see what the Supreme Court will say about it.
However, [Georgiou] was acquitted for the accusation that he did not convene the ELSTAT board, although this is intimately interconnected with the non-convening of the board for the approval of the data, for which he was convicted. So we ended up with an oxymoronic situation here. He was also acquitted of the charge that while he was a member of the IMF, that is to say, a servant of the lender, he was also chairman of ELSTAT, that is, a servant of the borrower, something that is inconceivable worldwide and yet happened in today’s occupied and economically enslaved Greece. Naturally, the people who were present in the courtroom were annoyed and protested these acquittals, but when they heard the announcement of the third charge they were relieved, of course, and for this charge he was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment with a three year suspension, without being granted, of course, any mitigation.
I, together with Mrs. Georganta, filed an objection against the court judgment for the two accusations for which he was acquitted, and we expect a Supreme Court decision as to whether or not Mr. Georgiou will go to a new trial for these new accusations. At the moment, the two acquittals cannot be considered irrevocable. But it is true that the most important accusation, for which Georgiou desperately wanted to be acquitted, was the one for which he got convicted. Indeed, the fact that Georgiou published the inflated elements of the deficit without approval by the ELSTAT board does not only prove his guilt of the second accusation, of not convening the board as he should have, but it also implies a deception, because he knew that his swollen deficit figures will never be accepted by a majority of the board members, and that this disagreement would sooner or later become public and reveal the irregularities he used with the help of Eurostat itself, resulting in a failure of the whole plan to legitimize the first memorandum and to impose the onerous austerity measures. That was not acceptable, and of course they had to use him.
MN: Following the guilty verdicts against Andreas Georgiou this past spring, a barrage of positive coverage and PR in favor of Georgiou appeared in the Greek and international media, including Bloomberg, the Washington Post, and Politico. We also heard numerous statements of support from major political figures in Greece, the European Union, and elsewhere. These statements criticized the supposed lack of independence of the Greek justice system in the verdicts against Georgiou. How would you describe or characterize Georgiou’s network of support within and outside of Greece, and these arguments made in his favor?
NL: Yes, indeed various statements have been heard and continue to be heard in support of Georgiou, trying to sanctify him, to elevate him as a serious personality and as an honest scientist. All this in order to justify everything he illegally did as ELSTAT president. All that is said are myths that are circulated by the domestic and foreign supporters of Georgiou, who are desperate to succeed that the case is not brought to the court of justice, for the major case of swelling of the deficit figures. But this also proves their own guilt in the matter. If they really believe that Georgiou is innocent and that we are the slanderers and the liars, why don’t they let Greek justice do its job and prove his presumed innocence in a court hearing? I would even expect Georgiou himself to be the first to grab this opportunity to be redeemed.
But this furious effort of all his supporters to prevent the case from being brought to trial reveals their panic as well as their guilt, because they know very well that in the forthcoming court hearing all the evidence will be revealed proving that Greece has suffered the greatest national betrayal since the time of the Thermopylae treason. Their own participation in the betrayal will also be revealed. Indeed, the core of this support network includes primarily Eurostat, whose senior staff advised Georgiou on how to inflate the 2009 deficit and also how to change ELSTAT’s founding laws in order to neutralize the rest of the board.
Imagine therefore what impact would Georgiou’s conviction would have on Eurostat’s image, whose political chief is the European Commission, Brussels, that is one-third of the troika, whatever that implies, of course, for many high-ranking political figures in the European Union and beyond. So one can clearly understand why high-level managers from Eurostat and major political figures from the EU itself are continuing in building a wall of protection and support for Georgiou, in the hopes that the government and the Supreme Court of Greece will believe all these myths they are promoting, the most usual of which are the following:
he first myth they say is that in recent years Georgiou was acquitted many times but the persecution against him continues. That’s what they say. The supporters of Georgiou claim again and again that Georgiou was acquitted, but it’s not true. The acquittal may occur only after the irrevocable final judgment in a court trial, or after an exonerating court order is accepted by the Supreme Court. Until now, all rulings for Georgiou were appealed against by the Supreme Court. He has not been acquitted irrevocably for any trial or for any [charges] that he had against him. On the contrary, he has had an irrevocable conviction for defamation, as I said before, and a conviction for one of the three accusations for breach of duty, for which the Supreme Court decision is awaited, whether or not it will become irrevocable. But the other two accusations for breach of duty for which he has been acquitted, as I have already said, for these we have filed a complaint and they cannot therefore be considered irrevocable or as something that he can get away with. So it’s not surprising that the prosecutions against him still continue. So it’s a myth, when they say that he was acquitted many times. Nothing happened so far.
The second myth goes as follows: Georgiou took over the presidency of ELSTAT after the first memorandum. He cannot therefore be regarded responsible for the memorandum and the economic crisis that followed. Well indeed, when Georgiou took action in ELSTAT, we were already under the first memorandum. If you remember, our entry into the first memorandum was announced by Mr. George Papandreou with his speech in Kasterllorizo in April 2010, and the reason for this was allegedly the high level of the 2009 deficit, which was put by Papandreou at 13.6 percent of GDP. That’s equivalent to about 30 billion euros. However, it was not the real deficit, but the prediction of Papandreou of what it would be after all relevant calculations took place. And Papandreou did not have the right to take such an important decision that would affect Greek society so much, based only on a prediction that had not even been approved by the Court of Auditors. We would be the ones, as ELSTAT’s management board, to supervise these calculations of the actual deficit, to approve it and publish it in October 2010, six months later. Actually, if we were given the opportunity to do that and find these deficit figures to be less than 10 percent, we would be able to denounce the first memorandum and cancel it! And of course, the rest of the memorandums which followed. But obviously, this would not be something that the designers of the first memorandum wished to happen, and so the appropriate person should be found who, with specific statistical adjustments, the deficit of 2009 would “confirm” the “validity” of Papandreou’s deficit “forecast” in April 2010, and fully justify our entry into the first memorandum. This is what they wanted.
Furthermore, in order to avoid any controversies with the rest of the board that could endanger their plan, it was decided to neutralize not only the dissidents of the board but the whole of ELSTAT’s board. As a result of all three unlawful actions, three or four, I don’t even remember how many, the first memorandum was legitimized, the door opened for the second and worst memorandum, and obviously the rest of the memoranda that followed, and for the austerity measures that have been going on since then. Therefore, it’s perhaps wrong to say that the first memoranda was due to Georgiou. It’s more appropriate to say that all memoranda and their relevant medieval austerity measures that we still have on our backs are actually due to Georgiou!
The third myth: since Eurostat has approved Georgiou’s practices and figures, they must be right, they must be correct. But would it be possible Eurostat not to approve the statistics, these statistics, provided by Georgiou, and the methods of administration that he was using? It was Eurostat’s director himself, Mr. Radermacher, who gave orders to Georgiou as to what data to add to the deficit. Correspondence has been revealed, from Radermacher to Georgiou, which shows how to add this amount of debt that was incurred by the Simitis swaps, how to add it into four year’s deficits until 2009, prior to the expiry date, as we previously explained, and although no European regulation existed at the time that would allow this. But anyway, they added this to the total fiscal debt that we had, for four years from 2006 to 2009. Also, it was the permanent representative of Eurostat at ELSTAT, Mr. Sorensen, who with the assistance of Eurostat’s legal adviser, Mr. Samuelson, who advised Georgiou on how to change ELSTAT’s founding law in order to turn ELSTAT into one-man authority. So it’s not surprising therefore that Eurostat approved the practices, the deficit figures of Georgiou. Of course, that does not mean that they were correct.
The final myth that I want to mention is that they’re saying Georgiou applied all proper European regulations. On the contrary, most European regulations and Eurostat’s own criteria for the deficit and debt calculations were violated by Georgiou and his advisers from Eurostat, in order to justify the unjustifiable integration of deficits of many public utilities in the 2009 deficit, something that requires a thorough study of several months for each public utility. You can’t just decide to include the deficit of a utility in the public debt, you need a thorough study, for several months, six months. So what kind of European regulations did Georgiou actually apply, I wonder. No one knows.
MN: We are on the air with Nikos Logothetis, former board member of the Greek Statistical Authority ELSTAT, here on Dialogos Radio and the Dialogos Interview Series. What is plainly evident is that there is a very extensive and very powerful network of support for the likes of Andreas Georgiou, a network which includes powerful media voices, major politicians and political figures, major centers of power and influence and decision-making. How can such a powerful and seemingly unified network of political and media forces even be countered by the Greek people?
NL: Indeed, Georgiou’s support network, perhaps composed of high-ranking political executives—domestic and foreign—is powerful. But no matter how much influence this network can have on political affairs in Greece, I think that it is not in a position to influence the Greek justice system, which I consider impartial. The fact that the case has reached up to the level of the Supreme Court, which so far the Supreme Court has justified many of our objections and appeals against Georgiou, gives us hope that ultimately the systemic power network that exists supporting [Georgiou] can be successfully dealt with. At the end of the day, our justice system, perhaps the only irreproachable institution in our country, seems to have borne the burden of this matter. I believe that the truth will soon be revealed, no matter how many powerful political and media forces try to impose an acquittal verdict.
MN: What are the judicial cases which are still outstanding regarding the ELSTAT case and Andreas Georgiou, what are the charges which Georgiou is still facing, and what is your expectation regarding the outcome of these cases?
NL: Most importantly, the case of the false inflation of data and of the breach of duty by Georgiou, are crimes of public document forgery. As I have already said, Georgiou was convicted of one and the more important accusation related to the breach of duty, that of the publication of the 2009 deficit figures without the approval of the ELSTAT board. However, he has been acquitted for the other two, as we said before, the duplication of his appointment in the IMF and ELSTAT and for the non-convening of the board, but we have appealed against these two verdicts of innocence, and we hope that the Supreme Court will decide to repeat the trial for these two related charges.
But the most important judicial case we are waiting for is for the felony of inflating the deficit, something that as I said before had, as a result, the legalization of the first memorandum, the imposing of the second and worst memorandum, and the justification of the cumbersome austerity measures. This is the time when these measures were imposed, obviously under the excuse that otherwise we would not be able to pay the related loan agreement. If this affair reaches the trial courts, we certainly expect Georgiou to be convicted, because the evidence we have against him is irrevocable and undeniable. This is what Georgiou’s supporters know. That’s why they push as hard as they can to prevent the case from reaching the high court of justice.
MN: We are speaking with Nikos Logothetis, former board member of the Greek Statistical Authority ELSTAT, here on Dialogos Radio and the Dialogos Interview Series. In what way do you believe the verdicts which will be reached by the Greek justice system concerning the ELSTAT and Georgiou cases, impact the future of Greece and particularly with regard to the austerity policies and memorandums which are being imposed and the non-serviceable public debt of Greece?
NL: I agree with you that Greek debt is non-serviceable. Even if we get away from the memoranda, we don’t get away from the related loan agreements, and we will continue to be under supervision by the EU until we pay 75 percent of our debt, something impossible for the next 60 years! If, however, as we hope, there is going to be an irrevocable conviction of Georgiou for the act of inflating the deficit figures, this will prove that we were imposed all these medieval memoranda using false figures, which gives Greece the right to claim compensation from the European Union for the damage we suffered in the last seven years of the financial crisis.
Article 340 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union gives us the right to claim this compensation, and we have even estimated the financial loss since Georgiou set foot in Greece, a cost that may well exceed 210 billion euros. A compensation of this level will certain overturn the disgraceful economic situation we are experiencing today. However, I emphasize again that a necessary condition is an irrevocable conviction of Georgiou regarding the felony of inflating the deficit figures.
And what about these instigators who used Georgiou to carry out their treacherous plans? Even Grigoris Peponis, the impeccable investigator who proposed the criminal prosecution of Georgiou in the first place, has suggested that the possible existence of certain instigators within the Greek and European political systems, who directed Georgiou on what to do, have to be taken into consideration. These are the ones who do not want the case to reach an open court hearing, the ones who are so desperate for the acquittal of Georgiou as early as possible in order to cover their own involvement in the above crime, because they’re well aware that we have evidence of their unlawful intervention in inflating the deficit and also in transforming ELSTAT from an independent authority into one-man authority. If the Supreme Court sends Georgiou to trial in the high court of justice, all his supporters know that this will mean a certain conviction for him. The support network will then collapse, and they will find themselves accused for their betrayal against their homeland and crimes against its citizens. Our country will then pass from an underprivileged position of a beggar, to the strong position of a challenger, on the basis of specific articles of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union itself.
As far as we are concerned, we do not really care about the strict or non-strict punishment of Georgiou, who is now a pensioner of the IMF. What interests us is to prove his guilt and to remove the injustice that has been committed against Greece through the false inflation of the public debt and deficit of 2009, and also prove the criminal involvement of the European Commission and Eurostat. This will only be done when the case is referred to an open court hearing, in which Eurostat and Georgiou will have to be present, in order to testify under oath whether or not they have falsely inflated the statistical figures of Greece, and the reasons they did so.
I do not know when and if this will happen, and how many battles we have to give from now on in order to achieve this. Some say, some tell us that there’s no point in continuing to fight, as it seems that with such a front of support for Georgiou by strong decision-making centers, the battle has already been done against us. We reply by saying that if we stop fighting, there will simply be no other battle, something we don’t want, because let’s not forget what Bertolt Brecht said once: he who fights, can lose. He who doesn’t fight, has already lost.
MN: Before we wrap up, and looking at the situation in Greece today and the economic claims that are being made by the Greek government, that the country has returned to economic growth, that Greece has turned a corner, do you believe that the Greek statistical figures today are credible, or are they perhaps still being manipulated?
NL: Unfortunately, the statistical figures have already been exploited by any government in power so far in Greece. We have seen this happen with the alchemies of swamps in order to get into the Eurozone. By the way, I wish that we had never gotten into the Eurozone in the first place! Our economy was not in a position to handle such a strong and competitive currency. We saw another exploitation of the statistical figures, of the deficit, this time. They became the reason for an economic crisis of the past seven years.
I cannot say what is happening these days with the statistical figures, I am not in ELSTAT, but anyway, we will find out sooner or latter what is happening. The truth always comes out for any case of mishandling of the statistical figures. We’ve seen this happening. But as long as there is no reliable team to correctly manage the handling of the statistical data in the Greek Statistical Authority, I’m afraid we should again expect irregularities and alchemies of the statistical data, unfortunately.
MN: Well Mr. Logothetis, thank you very much for taking the time to speak with us today here on Dialogos Radio and the Dialogos Interview Series, and for sharing your insights with us today. Best of luck with your continued efforts.
NL: Thank you very much, Mr. Nevradakis. I would be glad to hear from you again.
Please excuse any typos or errors which may exist within this transcript.