Greece wants IMF explanations over WikiLeaks report

ATHENS: Greece demanded “explanations” from the International Monetary Fund after WikiLeaks said the lender sought a crisis “event” to push the indebted nation into concluding talks over its reforms.

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he would write to IMF chief Christine Lagarde and reach out to European leaders, after the website published what it said was a transcript of a teleconference in which IMF officials complained that Athens only moves decisively when faced with the peril of default.

An “event” was therefore needed to drive the threat of default and get the Greeks to act, the officials say in the document dated March 19, and released by the whistleblowing website Saturday. The nature of such an “event” is not specified.

The officials also express concern that Britain’s referendum in June on EU membership will hold up the negotiations, predicting that the vote will halt the talks on Athens’ latest massive international bailout “for a month”.

The Greek government reacted strongly to the report, saying it wanted the IMF to clarify its position.

“The Greek government is demanding explanations from the IMF over whether seeking to create default conditions in Greece, shortly ahead of the referendum in Britain, is the fund’s official position,” spokeswoman Olga Gerovassili said in a statement.

Tsipras’ office added: “The Prime Minister will immediately send an official letter to Christine Lagarde over the issue.”

In an emailed statement, the IMF said it did not comment on leaks or “supposed reports of internal discussions”.

“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,” it added. AFP