Statement by Bank of Greece Governor Yannis Stournaras
08/02/2018 - Announcements
“The attempt by some to implicate me personally, as well as my family, in the Novartis scandal will not succeed. My career, as my wife’s, has been exemplary and transparent and cannot be tarnished by the scheming and designs of those who seek to destroy me by every devious means possible. There have been a number of similar attacks and persecutions against me over the past three years with one sole objective: to force me out of my position as Governor of the Bank of Greece. This attempt against me had been planned as far back as in 2014 at a meeting in Kypseli, as mentioned by Yanis Varoufakis in his book and yet to be denied.
What we are dealing with here are unprecedented accusations built on outright lies, but also on inaccuracies exclusively from “anonymous, protected witnesses” without any evidence. These witnesses have undertaken to do the “dirty job” for those working behind the scenes to destroy me.
My time at the helm of the Finance Ministry brought tangible results in terms of the public interest, since during my term in office from 2012 to 2014 the pharmaceutical expenditure was reduced by €880 million (a decrease of 30.5%). Thus, even a layman can see that the witnesses’ arguments are nonsense.
What I find astonishing is that the inaccuracies and lies have even found their way into an official document of the U.S. Department of Justice, in which I am presented as holding the position of Bank of Greece Governor in 2012, when it is a well-known fact that I was only appointed in 2014! Or that it was I who founded the Foundation for Economic & Industrial Research (IOBE), which was established (certainly not by me) in 1975.
My wife has been subject to more thorough scrutiny than anyone, particularly during the past few years, and all the fiscal data of her company have been available to the authorities since its records were seized in September 2016. It therefore comes as a surprise how something that continuous tax and judicial scrutiny was unable to find was exposed by an undisclosed perjurer who happens to be known to the government.
I categorically state that these unfounded accusations cannot harm me!
I have already informed the leadership of the European Central Bank that the accusations against me are totally ill-founded.”