Greece demands IMF explanation over leaked bailout talk



Greece has called on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to provide Athens with explanation over a leaked conversation, in which senior IMF officials allegedly discuss the use of threats against the cash-strapped country over its bailout deal.

“The Greek Government asks the IMF for explanations whether pursuing the creation of bankruptcy conditions in Greece … is the fund’s official position,” government spokeswoman, Olga Gerovasili, told state television on Saturday.

Earlier in the day, whistleblower website, WikiLeaks, published what it said was the transcript of a March 19 teleconference among Poul Thomsen, IMF European director, Delia Velculescu, IMF chief of mission in Greece, and IMF official Iva Petrova.

They are allegedly discussing the threat of the IMF’s withdrawal from Greece’s third bailout program as a way to apply pressure on Greece, Germany and the EU to force a deal on financial reforms in exchange for unlocking further IMF loans during the negotiations that will begin next week.

“In the past, there has been only one time when the decision has been made and then that was when they were about to run out of money seriously and to default,” Thomsen has been quoted as saying.

He seems to suggest that the withdrawal could also force German Chancellor Angela Merkel to agree to debt relief.

An IMF spokesman said the fund would not comment on “leaks or supposed reports of internal discussions,” but noted that the IMF had previously made its position clear.

“We have stated clearly what we think is needed for a durable solution to the economic challenges facing Greece – one that puts Greece on a path of sustainable growth supported by a credible set of reforms matched by debt relief from its European partners,” the spokesman said.

Referring to the leak, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told weekly Ethnos, “It seems that some people are playing games with an aim to destabilize us. We will not allow (IMF’s) Thomsen to destroy Europe.”

In August last year, Eurozone finance ministers approved Greece’s third bailout of about €86 billion ($97 billion), which would be made available to the country over the next three years.

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