German financial newspaper puts words in Lagarde’s mouth

(MSN Money) German financial newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung which quoted IMF Chief Christine Lagarde as saying “A Greek exit is a possibility” – later changed the quote to “Nobody would wish a Grexit on the Europeans,” amid conflicting reports and increasing nervousness over whether Greece is about to secure a cash for reforms deal.

The phrase made headlines in all the international news agencies and caused another stir in the equity markets. The correction took place after the IMF released a transcript of the interview, which was still having an impact on markets on Friday.

Corrected versions of the article that that ran on Friday’s edition changed Lagarde’s quote to read: “Nobody would wish a Grexit on the Europeans”, according to a statement from the paper.

“We are not naive and we don’t think that this is going to be or would be a walk in the park. It’s a complicated issue and it’s one that I hope the Europeans will not have to face because hopefully they will find a path to agree with the future of Greece within the euro zone,” Lagarde was quoted as saying in the transcript.

“The utterances of the IMF Director demonstrate the growing impatience of the creditors with Athens,” the FAZ commented.

Lagarde has also been reported to have said that she disagreed with Greek statements that a deal between Greece and its creditors is imminent and could happen this week.

“It’s very unlikely that we will reach a comprehensive solution in the next few days,” Lagarde said. “(There) is a vast field to plow”.

FAZ, a leading German financial newspaper, said it had “changed” Lagarde’s quote but gave no explanation as to how or why Lagardes original  statement had changed.