June 07, 2018

Instead of Andreas Georgiou, Greek courts should prosecute those who assigned Greece a 0% risk weight

Sir, Ulrich Baumgartner, Eduard Brau, Warren Coats and otherformer senior staff of the IMF launch a spirited defense of Mr Andreas Georgiou. They write that Georgiou, a respected authority in statistics, has been pursued relentlessly during seven years with lawsuit after lawsuit, for “bringing harm to Greece and dereliction of duty by refusing to falsify the figures.” “Greece should not hound man who refused to falsify the figures” June 7.

What “Georgiou and his Greek staff, helped by international experts” did was to produce corrections, “which showed a much bleaker picture than the earlier data, were vetted by Eurostat and accepted by the European Central Bank, the EU and the IMF as the basis for major financing.”

Amazing! If anything the courts should prosecute all those European central bankers and regulators who, for the purpose of their risk weighted capital requirements for banks, and knowing it did not merit it, assigned a 0% risk weight to Greece. Had it not been for that the governments of Greece would not have been able to build up that gargantuan level of public debt that was the primary cause of its crisis.

Since IMF, with its silence on it, has de facto endorsed that 0% risk weight, perhaps those here defending Mr Andreas Georgiou should start with a mea culpa. The world would very much appreciate that. It is way overdue.

Just imagine what would happen to a credit-rating agency if it was proven that it had knowingly assigned an undeserved an AAA rating?

What if a credit rating agency had knowingly assigned an undeserved AAA rating? European central bankers assigned an even worse 0% risk weight to Greece, which doomed Greece to excessive public debt… and they have yet not been held accountable for it in the slightest.