Roundup: Greece reacts to Wikileaks allegations over IMF threat with Greek default in 2016

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Greece strongly reacted on Saturday to Wikileaks allegations published in British "Guardian" newspaper that International Monetary Fund (IMF) officials were planning to threaten Athens with a Greek disorderly default this summer so that Greeks would accept a new set of painful austerity and reform measures in exchange of further bailout loans.

According to the report, during a leaked telephone conversation obtained by the whistle-blowing organization a month ago IMF director in Europe Poul Thomsen and IMF's mission chief in Greece Delia Velculescu discussed a plan to add pressure on Athens by delaying the conclusion of the undergoing first review of the third bailout program.

The assessment drags on since February with Greece and its international creditors still holding diverging views on the next round of policies that should be implemented in return for more vital financial aid.

The envoys of IMF and European lenders were scheduled to return to Athens for negotiations with the government on Monday with the aim of wrapping up the review by late April.

According to Wikileaks, Thomsen attempts to delay the conclusion of the review until July after the referendum on Brexit so that Greece will be running out of cash teetering at the brink of default and be forced to accept harsher measures, as it happened last summer.

According to the same report based on Wikileaks claims, the IMF official intends to also "blackmail" German Chancellor Angela Merkel with IMF's withdrawal from the program which could "raise a series of difficult questions in German parliament."

"The Greek government asks for explanations from the IMF if the creation of bankruptcy conditions in Greece before the referendum in Britain is the Fund's official position," Greek government spokeswoman Olga Gerovassili said in an e-mailed statement on Saturday in Athens.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras convened an extraordinary meeting with ministers and his associates to discuss the issue, held a telephone conversation with President of the Greek Republic Prokopis Pavlopoulos and was planning to hold contacts with European leaders, Greek national news agency AMNA reported.

The Greek premier also intends to send a formal letter to IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde on the issue, AMNA added.

According to government sources, Pavlopoulos commented on Saturday that it was about time that the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) will take over the role IMF holds, while Tsipras underlined that Greece honors its commitments and "will not allow anybody to play with fire and put in danger Greece and Europe." Enditem

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