In 2010, following the financial crisis of 2007-2009, Greece put Andreas Georgiou in charge of the newly created Greek statistical authority (Hellenic Statistical Authority – ELSTAT). ELSTAT was responsible for computing the government’s debt and budget deficit. Georgiou, at the time as a prominent statistician, who had attended high school in Athens, received his BA in Economics (Summa Cum Laude) from Amherst College and the University of Michigan, where he studied monetary theory and international trade. Before coming to ELSTAT he had been the Deputy Division Chief in the Statistics Department of the International Monetary Fund where he had worked for 21 years.
Under Georgiou’s leadership it was found that the budget deficit in Greece was almost twice what had been reported by the Greek government in earlier reports. In 2015, the government forced Georgiou to resign. In 2011, they accused him of inflating the deficit figures and filed charges against him. The charges were dismissed by the Appeals Court Council in 2015 due to the unanimous assent among European and US statistical agencies that corroborated his figures. In 2016, the Supreme Court of Greece threw out the decision in Georgiou’s favor. Thereafter, the Greek government brought new charges against him, carrying a possible life sentence.
Former head of Greek statistical agency faces prison for revealing accurate economic data (The Examiner, June 15, 2018, by Eugene Chudnovsky (co-chair, Committee of Concerned Scientists))