Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has denied that he gave the middle finger to Germany, claiming that video evidence of him doing so was doctored. The person who originally uploaded the disputed video to YouTube has insisted that it is genuine.
The footage shows Mr Varoufakis giving a speech in Zagreb in 2013, in which he is heard to say “My proposal was that Greece should simply announce it is defaulting – just like Argentina did – within the euro in January 2010 and stick the finger to Germany and say, well you can now solve this problem by yourself.” At the same time, he raises his middle finger towards the camera.
Appearing on German TV this weekend, Mr Varoufakis insisted “That video was doctored. I’ve never given the finger, I’ve never given the middle finger ever,” the Telegraph has reported. He later tweeted a link to the whole 57 minute speech on YouTube, saying “here is the ‘undoctored’ by the unscrupulous media’s video”
And here is the ‘undoctored’ by the unscrupulous media’s video: https://t.co/WZ3ixfKHC5
— Yanis Varoufakis (@yanisvaroufakis) March 16, 2015
The link he posted does, however, show him making the gesture at 40 minutes and 30 seconds. Alessandro del Prete, who uploaded a shortened six minute clip to YouTube, denied faking the footage. “Absolutely not fake,” he said.
— Alessandro Del Prete (@alexdelprete) March 15, 2015
Mr Varoufakis, who once likened austerity to “fiscal waterboarding”, had already raised eyebrows recently with a photoshoot depicting him and his wife on their luxurious roof terrace with the Acropolis in the background. The couple are seen eating grilled fish washed down with white wine whilst enjoying the spring sunshine and glorious views.
In stark contrast to Ed “two kitchens” Miliband, who drew derision for trying to pass off the smaller of the two kitchens in his multimillion pound London mansion as his only kitchen, Mr Varoufakis has been criticised for the opulence of the photos at a time when so many in Greece are suffering real financial hardship. In both cases, the men have been slammed as “out of touch”.
Mr Varoufakis has since said that he regrets the photoshoot and does “not agree with the aesthetic” of the pictures. Damien Whitworth at The Times has commented “I believe the technical term for this is photoshooting yourself in the foot.”