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Georgiou Requests Reopening of ‘Violation of Duty’ Case

1 December 2023 One Comment
Photo of Andreas Georgio, sitting in office and looking relaxed, beard, mustache

Andreas Georgiou
Photo courtesy of the Georgiou family

Andreas Georgiou recently asked the Greek judiciary to reopen the 2017 criminal case that examined his role as head of the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT) and found him guilty of “violation of duty” because he did not submit corrected Greek deficit and debt statistics to a vote by an ELSTAT board before transmitting them to Eurostat (the statistical authority of the EU) in November of 2010. This follows the March 2023 decision of the European Court of Human Rights in favor of Georgiou, which found his human rights were violated due to an unfair trial and asked for a retrial at the Greek Supreme Court.

The violation of duty case has a long history. A criminal investigation into Georgiou was opened in September of 2011, and charges were filed against him in 2013. Following the consecutive rejection of proposals by several investigating judges and prosecutors to drop the charges, Georgiou was first brought to trial in 2016 and acquitted. However, in 2017, he was tried again, convicted, and given a suspended two-year prison sentence. Georgiou asked the Greek Supreme Court to annul his conviction, citing serious legal and due process problems, but was denied, rendering his conviction irreversible within the Greek legal system.

In March of 2023, the European Court of Human Rights judged that Georgiou’s right to a fair trial had been violated in the 2017 trial for failure of the Greek court system to act on a request from Georgiou to put a pre-trial question to the Court of Justice of the EU (the administrative court of the EU) about the correct interpretation of the European Statistics Code of Practice regarding the production of official statistics in EU countries. Provision 1.4 of that code requires that the head of a statistical authority “have the sole responsibility for deciding on statistical methods, standards and procedures, and on the content and timing of statistical releases.” The European Court of Human Rights explicitly asked for a retrial of the case.

With Georgiou’s request, the Greek Supreme Court can reopen the trial. Georgiou wrote in his application, “Since the true meaning of the relevant provision 1.4 of the European Statistics Code of Practice is that alleged by the applicant, the criminal proceedings against him should be definitively discontinued and he should be acquitted of all charges, given that his plea in law alleging misinterpretation and misapplication of that provision is upheld.”

Members of the ASA Board of Directors have long called for Greek officials to end the persecution of Georgiou and exonerate him. In a May 2018 statement, they wrote, “The continued prosecution of Georgiou undermines the current production of Greek statistical figures, the accuracy and objectiveness of which are paramount for attracting foreign investment and ending Greece’s cycles of economic crises.”

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One Comment »

  • Miranda Xafa said:

    Well done Andrea, your full exoneration is well deserved after years of politically motivated judicial battles!

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