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Former ELSTAT boss Georgiou to appeal sentence

Former ELSTAT chief Andreas Georgiou, sentenced yesterday to a two-year imprisonment with a three-year suspension for a breach of duty, was interviewed by the Financial Times.

Speaking to the newspaper from his home in the USA, Mr. Georgiou, who is appeaing to theGreek Supreme Court against the sentence, says he has been convicted of "respecting the principle of professional independence as required by the EU and by Greek law. We do not have statistical results by vote (by the Board) in Europe. "

And he adds, "I would defend and apply the principle again today without hesitation and so should every head of a statistical authority."

The FT report notes that Mr Georgiou was convicted despite having acted in accordance with the European Union Code of Practice for the heads of national statistical offices.

The newspaper quotes views of Greek commentators who consider the former ELSTAT chief a scapegoat and who speak of a "kafkasque form of political persecution."

The European Commission also stressed that it had expressed "full confidence in the reliability and accuracy of ELSTAT data for the period 2010-2015 and beyond" and added that "the independence of the statistical offices in our member are the basic pillar of the economic and monetary union ".