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Where did Greece's bailout money go?

Chris Cottrell
May 4, 2016

Only 5 percent of international bailout money for Greece was used to kickstart the country's languid economy, a new study has found. The rest was used to pay back private creditors, many of which were banks.

Symbolbild Krise in Griechenland
Image: dapd

ESMT's Jörg Rocholl on Greek bailout study

Less than 10 billion euros ($11.5 billion) from Greece's first two international bailouts ended up in the hands of the Greek treasury, according to new study by the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT).

Contrary to popular belief, the lion's share of the rescue money sent to Greece was used for debt repayments, interest payments, bank recapitalization and debt restructuring, ESMT President Jörg Rocholl told DW in an interview on Wednesday.

"Most of the money was used to actually transfer risks from private creditors to public creditors," Rocholl said. "This means money was used to repay the private creditors by taking on more debts that were taken by private creditors."

Rocholl argued that the study offered one of the clearest glimpses to date into where the Greek bailout money came from and how it was spent.

Since the Greek debt crisis began in 2010, the southern European country has received two bailouts from international creditors and is currently on its third. During the first two "adjustment programs," as they're known in bureaucratic parlance, Athens received some 216 billion euros.

Of that amount, the ESMT's study found that 86.9 billion went toward debt repayments, including 9.1 billion in repayments to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), 52.3 billion was spent on interest payments, 37.3 billion was used for bank recapitalization and 29.7 billion was doled out to provide incentives for investors to get involved in the private sector.

Only 9.7 billion euros, according to ESMT, was directly contributed to Greece's fiscal budget or to kickstart the Greek economy.