Monday 23 April 2018

Greece wants answer following IMF leak

Greek premier Alexis Tsipras. Photo: Reuters
Greek premier Alexis Tsipras. Photo: Reuters

Lefteris Papadimas

Greece has demanded an explanation from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after an apparent leaked transcript suggested the fund may threaten to pull out of the country's bailout in order to force European lenders to offer more debt relief.

EU/IMF lenders are due to hold talks on Greece's bailout in Athens today, aiming to conclude a bailout review that will unlock further loans and pave the way for negotiations on long-desired debt restructuring.

Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras' office said yesterday that he had asked IMF managing director Christine Lagarde to clarify the fund's stance, after internet whistleblowing site WikiLeaks published what it said was the transcript of a March 19 conference call of three senior IMF officials.

The officials were discussing tactics to apply pressure on Greece, Germany and the EU to reach a deal this month.

They were quoted discussing a threat that the fund might not participate in Greece's third bailout programme as a way to force EU creditors, especially Germany, to reach a deal on debt relief before Britain's June referendum on whether to stay in the European Union.

"He sent a letter to Lagarde last night, asking her to clarify the fund's official stance," Mr Tsipras' office confirmed.

Irish Independent

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