Eurostat to Look Into Greece's Debt Swaps
By CAROLYN HENSON
BRUSSELS—Europe's statistics office is seeking information from the Greek government concerning reports Greece used complicated currency swaps overseen by Wall Street investment banks to hide its mounting debt levels, a European Commission spokesman said Monday.
"Eurostat wasn't aware of this matter," said Amadeu Altafaj Tardio, spokesman for economic and monetary affairs. "We need information about what kind of transactions took place, if they did, and what was the effect on the government accounts in Greece."
The spokesman said currency swaps are a legitimate government management tool "if they are calculated from observed market rates."
The allegations emphasize the need for the statistics body to deepen its powers of scrutiny of government economic data, he said.
Newspaper reports Monday said Greece arranged a deals with investment bank Goldman Sachs Group Inc. that pushed repayment of its spiraling debts far into the future.
European Union finance ministers on Tuesday will discuss additional measures that Greece should take to tackle its fiscal crisis beyond what it has already promised to comply with EU budget rules, Spanish Finance Minister Elena Salgado said. Ms. Salgado was speaking as she arrived Monday for a two-day monthly gathering of EU finance ministers. Salgado said there will be no announcement of a detailed bailout plan for Greece on Monday.
—Matthew Dalton and Alessandro Torello contributed to this article.