Who has accused Andreas of slander?
The plaintiff Nikolaos Stroblos was the director of the Greek national accounts division of statistics from 2006 to mid-2010. During this period, Eurostat (the organization responsible for overseeing the quality of national statistics) repeatedly expressed “reservations” about the quality of the Greek economic statistics.
Part of the work that Andreas did when he took responsibility for Greek statistics was to issue revised statistics for the 2006 to 2009 time period.
Stroblos asserted that Andreas slandered him in a July 2014 press release that defended the revised statistics that Andreas was producing.
What was the context for the press release?
As of July 2014, the deficit figures produced under Andreas’ watch had been accepted by Eurostat eight times in a row over a span of four years (2010-2014). Eurostat each time accepted the statistics “without reservations”, indicating they believed the statistics were accurate and properly calculated.
In Greece at this time, Andreas had been investigated two separate times on charges of artificially inflating the deficit. In these first two investigations, the assigned investigating magistrate found no evidence of statistical manipulation and recommended the case should be dropped. Each time, the courts ignored the recommendation, and the investigation was started fresh again.
In July 2014, the results of the second investigation were announced, along with the recommendation that all charges should be dropped. But the Council of the Appeals Court decided to continue the case.
It was therefore absolutely vital that in July 2014, Andreas make a strong statement in defense of the statistics.
What is Andreas’ legal defense against the slander allegation?
- Andreas was legally required to defend the statistics produced under his watch, given that it is required under the European Statistics Code of Practice (indicator 1.7 under the Principle of Professional Independence).
- He was making this defense in the context of a barrage of slanderous attacks against him from all sides, and in the context of a number of judicial reversals.
- He was exercising his right of free speech and defending himself against years of rampant slander by many in Greece, including the person who brought the slander case against him.
Andreas has initiated an appeal to the Greek Supreme Court to ask for an annulment of the Appeals Court decision. However, even if the Supreme Court rules in Andreas’ favor, it means that the process would start all over again with a new trial! In the good scenario, it will be three or more years before any final resolution is achieved. September 19, 2021 was the 10 year anniversary of the persecution, we are well past the point where one can consider justice to be swift!
We will keep you in the loop.